Accessibility links

Breaking News


The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay a group of Russian activists 183,000 euros ($197,300) in compensation for limiting their right to hold public gatherings.

The ruling was posted on the court's website on February 7.

According to the court decision, Russia must pay between 7,500 euros ($8,000) and 10,000 euros ($10,700) to each of 23 Russian activists, who include human rights defender Lev Ponomaryov and the leader of the Left Front opposition movement, Sergei Udaltsov.

The activists had filed the lawsuits against Russia saying that between 2009 and 2012 local authorities in different ways impeded at least 28 of their public gatherings and marches.

The court found that the activists' right to hold public gatherings were violated and that they were not provided with means to defend themselves in a legal way.

It also ruled that the rights of three of the activists to have fair court hearings were violated.

Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin is collected by Azerbaijani security forces upon his arrival in Baku.

MINSK -- Russian blogger Aleksandr Lapshin has been flown from Minsk to Baku over objections from Moscow that he be sent Russia.

Lapshin's extradition to Azerbaijan on February 7 occurred hours after the Belarusian Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court to send Lapshin to Baku.

The Russian blogger, who also has Israeli citizenship, is wanted by Azerbaijan on allegations of supporting the independence of Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Belarusian Deputy State Prosecutor Alyaksey Stuk signed the extradition order on January 18.

Lapshin, who lives in Moscow and writes a Russian-language travel blog, was detained in Minsk in mid-December on the basis of Baku's extradition request.

Azerbaijani prosecutors accuse Lapshin of illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh in 2011 and 2012 and calling for the recognition of the breakaway region's independence by posting two statements online.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Minsk to "unconditionally" release Lapshin.

"Lapshin should not be jailed for expressing his opinions or traveling to a disputed region," Nina Ognianova, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in a January 13 statement.

If Lapshin is convicted in Baku, he could face up to eight years in prison there.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More