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Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin (left) and former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev (file photo)

A Russian court has refused to call a top oil company chief to testify in a bribery trial against former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev.

Ulyukayev faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of accepting $2 million in cash from Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Ulyukayev denies any wrongdoing.

Judges at Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky district court on November 28 denied a defense request to have Sechin testify as the case ended the testimony phase.

Sechin has been summoned to testify four times in recent weeks but has declined to show up, saying he is too busy. He made clear earlier this month that he would not be available to testify before the end of the year.

The trial is set to resume December 4, when closing arguments are due to begin.

Prosecutors said the bribe was given last year on November 14 in exchange for Ulyukayev approving the sale of a state-controlled oil company Bashneft to Rosneft.

Police detained Ulyukayev inside Rosneft headquarters shortly after Sechin handed him the cash inside a lockable brown bag, prosecutors said.The next day Putin fired Ulyukayev.

Ulyukayev, speaking to the court on November 27, said he had believed the package contained a gift but that a trap had been set for him.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, and Reuters
Nikolai Kavkazsky (center) attends a court hearing in Moscow in July 2013.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia violated the rights of a man who was jailed in connection with a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration to his current term.

In a decision issued on November 28, the ECHR found that Russian authorities violated Nikolai Kavkazsky's rights during his detainment and prosecution over the protest on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012.

The court ordered Russia to pay him 10,000 euros ($11,900).

The decision supported Kavkazsky's claim that the authorities violated two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights -- a ban on torture and the right to a fair trial in a reasonable period of time.

Kavkazsky was sent to pretrial detention in June 2012, a month after the protest, despite legally documented health problems. He was transferred to house arrest only after his health drastically deteriorated in jail.

Kavkazsky had sought 70,000 euros ($83,400) in compensation from the Russian government.

More than 400 people were detained after clashes erupted at the 2012 protest. Police and protesters blame one another for the violence.

The rally was one of a series of large opposition protests sparked mainly by anger over evidence of widespread fraud in the December 2011 parliamentary elections and dismay at Putin's decision to return to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister.

More than 30 people were prosecuted in connection with the clashes, and more than 20 were sentenced to prison or served time in pretrial custody.

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