A Russian court on Wednesday outlawed the organisations founded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny by labelling them extremist.
The court made the decision to abolish FBK, an anti-corruption foundation, and the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation.
It also banned the activities of Navalny’s campaign offices after recognizing them as extremist, Sputnik reported.
“The ruling concerning the termination of activities of these organizations comes into force immediately,” the court said.
The move appeared to be part of a campaign to muzzle President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opposition months before parliamentary elections.
Lawyer Yevgeny Smirnov, one of Navalny’s lawyers, said during the hearing that stretched into the evening hours that the prosecutors’ motion was intended to bar Navalny’s associates from running for public office.
“This case has been linked to the law that bans all those who are connected with the Foundation for Fighting Corruption from getting elected,” Smirnov said.
Navalny, Putin’s most prominent rival, was arrested in January upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin – an accusation that Russian officials reject.
Currently, he is serving a prison sentence for violating the terms of his suspended sentence in the 2014 Yves Rocher fraud case. The initial sentence of 3.5 years in prison was lowered to 2.5 years by Moscow city court earlier, although the verdict was upheld.