By Dan Alexe
Contributing Editor, New Europe
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has satisfied a complaint lodged by Russian blogger and dissident Alexei Navalny about violations of his rights and ordered Russia to pay him 63,000 euros in compensation, the judgment said on Feb. 2.
The case originated in five applications against Russia lodged with the court by Navalny who complained about the circumstances of his detention between 2012 and 2014.
The case concerned the arrest of Aleksey Navalny on seven occasions at different public gatherings, and his subsequent prosecution for administrative offences. Navalny complained that these measures had been politically motivated and had violated his human rights.
The court said there was a violation of the applicant’s right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial and freedom of assembly and association under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court found that all of the arrests had been disproportionate reactions to peaceful political gatherings, undertaken without any assessment of whether they were justified, and that they had violated Navalny’s right to freedom of assembly.
Taken together with other cases, they suggest the existence of a practice whereby police would interrupt an unnotified but peaceful gathering and arrest the participants as a matter of routine. The seven occasions when Navalny had been arrested – and the two occasions when he had also been held in pre-trial detention – had all been arbitrary deprivations of his liberty, as no reason had been given as to why they were necessary in the circumstances.
Finally, six of the seven proceedings for administrative offences had been unfair. The courts had based their judgments solely on the versions of events put forward by the police, whilst systematically failing to check their allegations, refusing Navalny’s requests for the court to examine evidence, and automatically presuming bias on behalf of all witnesses who had testified in his favour.
This article was published on New Europe's website on February 2nd, 2017.
The full judgement is available here.