MOSCOW - A court in Moscow Friday placed opposition leader Alexei Navalny under house arrest for two months with communications blackout prohibiting him from using the Internet, texting or speaking with anyone but his family.
Investigators had asked the court to put Navalny under house arrest, arguing that he had violated travel restrictions during a criminal investigation against him.
The court said Navalny had violated rules barring him from leaving Moscow.
Navalny described the ruling as baseless and said it was meant to silence him.
"I believe the new measures are based on trumped up grounds in order to restrict my political activities," said Navalny, 37, in court.
He was earlier this week sentenced to seven days in jail. He was detained by police when he was about to join a protest against the sentencing of seven people for participating in an anti-Putin demonstration in May 2012.
Navalny, who has used his blog and Twitter account to document and publicize his investigations into official corruption, has emerged as a charismatic leader of the anti-Putin protest movement. He has been slapped with a slew of criminal charges ever since.
He is serving a five-year suspended sentence on a theft conviction that will keep him out of a 2018 presidential vote. He has also been charged with theft and money-laundering in a separate case that is yet to come to trial.
Navalny is widely seen as the only potential challenger to President Vladimir Putin after he garnered an unexpected 27 per cent in last year's Moscow mayoral election.
He had been under travel restrictions after he was accused of defrauding the Yves Rocher cosmetics company. Investigators said he and his brother, Oleg Navalny, had set up a delivery company, which charged the cosmetics company too much for its services.
His most recent corruption target has been the Sochi Winter Olympics, which he said were used to funnel large sums of money to allies of President Vladimir Putin.