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Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny Navalny participated in the hearing by videolink from prison.

MOSCOW -- A Moscow district court has postponed until June 25 the hearing of a suit by imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei Navalny asking the court to rescind a decision by prison officials designating him as a "flight risk."

The Preobrazhensky District Court on June 22 granted a request by Navalny’s lawyers for additional time to study some case materials. Navalny participated in the hearing by videolink from prison in the Vladimir region.

Navalny is asking the court to invalidate the flight-risk designation imposed by officials at the Moscow remand prison where he was being held early this year during his trial on charges of violating the terms of his suspended sentence. In February, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on the charges, which he says were trumped up to block his political activity.

Earlier, Navalny filed a similar suit against the Vladimir-region prison where he is serving his sentence, but that case was rejected.

Because of the flight-risk designation, guards must ascertain each hour during the night that Navalny is in his cell.

During the earlier trial, Navalny argued that the hourly checks "effectively amount to torture."

"I just want them to stop coming to me and waking me up at night," he told the court.

Navalny was arrested in Moscow on January 17 upon his return from Germany, where he underwent months of medical treatment to recover from an August nerve-agent poisoning that he and his supporters say was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

With reporting by TASS
A burned-out house in the town of Borozdinovskaya where the incident happened in 2005.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Russia to pay almost two million euros ($2.4 million) to the relatives of 11 people who went missing in Chechnya in 2005 during a special operation by the Vostok (East) military unit.

The ECHR ruled on June 22 that Russia violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to life, when, according to witnesses, the military unit in question killed an elderly man in the town of Borozdinovskaya in Chechnya in October 2005 and abducted 11 local residents, mainly ethnic Avars, whose whereabouts have been unknown since then.

The majority of the Vostok unit's members were ethnic Chechens.

Commanders of the Vostok unit have rejected all the accusations, while Russia has investigated the situation separately.

In October 2005, a commander of the unit, Mukhadi Aziyev, was handed a suspended sentence after a court found him guilty of abuse of power.

Kremlin critics say Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned a blind eye to the alleged abuses and violations of the Russian Constitution by Chechnya's authoritarian ruler Ramzan Kadyrov because he relies on the former rebel commander to control separatist sentiment and violence in Chechnya, the site of two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus.

Rights groups say Kadyrov uses repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the region.

They allege he is ultimately responsible for the violence and intimidation of political opponents by Chechen authorities, including kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

ECHR rulings are binding on members, including Russia, which ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998, and is one of 47 member states in the Council of Europe, which monitors compliance with the convention.

But Russia has often taken issue with rulings against it, and in 2015 adopted a law allowing it to overrule judgements from the ECHR.

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"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.

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