Defense attorney Vladimir Voronin removed from proceedings on extremism case against Navalny associate Liliya Chanysheva

Lawyer Vladimir Voronin says he’s been removed from the proceedings on the criminal case against his client Liliya Chanysheva, the former head of Alexey Navalny’s campaign office in Ufa.

Chanysheva was jailed in November, as the first suspect in the criminal case opened against Navalny and his close associates for “creating an extremist group.” If convicted, she will face up to ten years in prison. 

Voronin found out his removal from the proceedings after he tried to visit Chanysheva in pre-trial detention on Friday, December 10, the defense attorney wrote in a tweet.

According to Voronin, the detention center’s staff refused to let him see his client, citing a decision from the Russian Investigative Committee’s Main Investigative Directorate. The lawyer has yet to receive an official notice, but said in the tweet that he plans to challenge the decision.

Speaking to Dozhd television, Voronin surmised that the formal basis for his removal could be the fact that he previously defended another Navalny ally, Ivan Zhdanov. At the same time, the defense attorney insisted that there’s no conflict of interest.

Chanysheva’s Ufa lawyer was also made to sign a non-disclosure agreement, Voronin reported. “The investigation is doing everything so that this case gets less publicity,” the defense attorney added.

In September, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Alexey Navalny and his close associates on charges of creating and participating in an extremist group. In October, this case was combined with four other criminal cases initiated against the imprisoned opposition leader.

Following Chanysheva’s arrest, the former heads of Navalny’s Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk headquarters fled Russia fearing persecution. According to Kommersant, 14 of the 38 coordinators who led Navalny’s regional campaign offices had left Russia as of late November.

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