The court said Navalny, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir
Putin and a leader of anti-Kremlin protests in 2011 and 2012, had
violated rules barring him from leaving Moscow.
Navalny denounced the ruling as baseless and said it was meant to
silence him. Supporters, including members of protest band Pussy
Riot, shouted "Freedom!" as he left the courtroom.
"I believe the new measures are based on trumped up grounds in order
to restrict my political activities," Navalny, 37, said in court.
Kremlin opponents say the upheaval in neighboring Ukraine, where
protests forced President Viktor Yanukovich from power after he
scrapped plans for closer European Union ties to move closer to
Moscow, has deepened Putin's determination to prevent any revival
the earlier street demonstrations.
They say Putin is also clamping down on dissent after engineering
the release of long-jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and two
members Pussy Riot before the Sochi Olympics, which ended last week.
Navalny, who gained prominence with blog posts alleging government
corruption, emerged from the biggest protests of Putin's 14-year
rule as the main opposition leader and a potential future challenger
He is serving a five-year suspended sentence on a theft conviction
that will keep him out of a 2018 presidential vote, and has been
charged with theft and money-laundering in a separate case that has
not come to trial.
Navalny was one of hundreds of people detained on Monday at protests
against the jailing of seven activists convicted of rioting and
attacking police at a demonstration against Putin on the eve of his
inauguration to a six-year third term in 2012.
[to top of second column]
Lawyers and relatives of those activists say they believe the jail
sentences, ranging from two-and-a-half to four years, were a signal
from the Kremlin that it will act firmly to prevent any repeat of
the Ukraine events in Russia.
Putin denies he uses the courts as a political tool and has shrugged
off criticism over what Western governments see as a measures
restricting freedoms such as speech and assembly during his new
Prosecutors said Navalny had informed the authorities of trips with
his wife and children into the region than rings the capital only
after the fact, and the judge agreed that was a violation. Navalny
denied he had done anything wrong and said his anti-corruption work
would continue without him.
Under the terms of his house arrest, which expires on April 28 but
is renewable, he is barred from using the Internet and telephone and
can only speak to close relatives, his lawyers and the authorities,
his spokeswoman Anna Veduta said on Twitter.
The measures were imposed in connection with a case in which Navalny
and his brother are charged with stealing 26 million roubles
($720,000) from a Russian affiliate of French cosmetics firm Yves
Rocher and 4 million roubles from another firm through fraud, and of
laundering 21 million roubles. He denies guilt. ($1 = 36.1655
(Reporting by Ian Bateson, Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by
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