• On 2 February 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay more than 63,000 euros in compensation to opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny for multiple violations of his right to peaceful protest, the BBC reported •
The BBC describes Aleksei Navalny as ‘Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal critic.’ The BBC reports that in its ruling the European Court of Human Rights said Aleksei Navalny’s right to peaceful protest had been violated multiple times during a series of political gatherings dating back to 2012. The ruling also said Navalny had been denied his right to a fair hearing. Navalny described the ruling as ‘a kicking’ for Russia’s ‘lying, corrupt and hypocritical justice system’.
The day before (1 February) Leninsky district court in Kirov, which is hearing the retrial of the Kirovles embezzlement case, prohibited Navalny from leaving Kirov until 10 February 2017, RAPSI reported. In February 2016, as RAPSI reports, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled that the right to a fair trial of Aleksei Navalny and his co-defendant Petr Ofitserov had been violated and ‘ordered Russian authorities to compensate Navalny with €48,000 of legal costs and Ofitserov with €22,000. Additionally, Russia was obliged by court to pay 8,000 euro each in damages.’ This was followed by a November 2016 ruling of the Supreme Court which, taking into account the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, set aside the convictions of Navalny and Ofitserov and sent the case for a retrial – which is now beig heard in Kirov. On 2 February the Leninsky district court in Kirov dismissed a motion by Navalny to summon all defence witnesses to give testimony at the court, RAPSI reported.
RFE/RL reported on 3 February 2017 that prosecutors on that day asked the judge to convict Aleksei Navalny and give him a suspended five-year sentence which would effectively bar him from taking part in future elections, including the presidential election in 2018. The judge said he would issue the verdict on February 8. RFE/RL reports: ‘In a defiant final statement, Navalny accused “Putin’s band” of stealing Russia’s wealth from its people and vowed to continue his political activities regardless of the trial’s outcome. He promised the judge and court staff that he would serve them and all other Russian citizens if elected president. When the judge ordered him to speak only about issues related to his case, Navalny said that everything he says is related to the case because the case is “politically motivated.” “Unfortunately, in modern Russia a courtroom is the only platform where honest people, including me, are able to openly and freely express their political views,” Navalny said.’