Prominent Navalny allies Yarmysh & Sobol ‘detained’ on morning of planned demonstrations against opposition figure's imprisonment

Two close allies of the Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny have been arrested on Wednesday morning, ahead of the evening's planned protests against the activist's imprisonment. He is serving a two-year-eight-month sentence.

According to their lawyers, Lyubov Sobol and Kira Yarmysh were taken into custody by police. They are two of Navalny's closest associates, and are perhaps the most prominent figures within his circle still remaining inside Russia.

Sobol is a lawyer who has repeatedly attempted to run for election and now works on the YouTube channel ‘Navalny Live’. According to her attorney Vladimir Voronin, she was pulled over while riding in a taxi, before police arrested her and took her away.

“The reason for the detention is not yet known,” he explained to Moscow news agency TASS.

Last week, Sobol was handed a one-year suspended sentence for breaking and entering into the apartment of a man accused by Navalny of being behind a plot to poison him in August.

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The other ally arrested, Yarmysh, is the activist's press secretary. Earlier this year, she was detained and jailed on charges of organizing public events without notifying the authorities.

“Yarmysh managed to call me just before she was detained,” her lawyer, Veronika Polyakova, told TASS. “So far, I don't know the reason for the detention or where they took her.”

Unauthorized demonstrations in support of Navalny are due to take place around Russia at 7pm on Wednesday evening, and are planned as an attempt to force the authorities to let him out of jail. The activist is currently in a hospital prison ward, and has recently complained about pain in his back and leg. Some of his supporters have claimed that the activist could soon die, although Navalny himself has refuted this.

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