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Elvira Dmitriyeva headed Aleksei Navalny's campaign in Kazan, the capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan. (file photo)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found that the Russian state violated the rights of a coordinator for opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's attempted presidential campaign and ordered it to pay 12,500 euros ($14,000).

The April 30 ruling in Elvira Dmitriyeva's case was the first decision on a series of complaints filed with the ECHR against Russia over a crackdown on nationwide protests organized by Navalny and his supporters on March 26, 2017.

Navalny sought to challenge President Vladimir Putin in a March 2018 election and conducted an active campaign but was barred from the ballot.

Dmitriyeva headed his campaign in Kazan, the capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan.

In March 2017, Dmitriyeva was fined for posting an announcement about an anti-corruption rally in Kazan, and days later she was sentenced to 10 days in jail for taking part in the March 26 protest there, which was not approved by city authorities.

Russian law enforcement authorities detained more than 1,000 people in cities across the country at the March 26, 2017 protests, which were among the biggest anti-government demonstrations since a wave of rallies in 2011-12.

In its ruling, the ECHR in Strasbourg found that Russia had violated Dmitriyeva's rights to liberty and security, a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and effective remedy.

In addition to the 12,500-euro payment for violating Dmitriyeva's rights, the court ordered Russia to cover Dmitriyeva's expenses linked to the hearing.

It was the ECHR's first decision linked to the March 26, 2017 rallies that were held in many towns and cities across Russia.

Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny (file photo)
Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny (file photo)

The protests were held after Navalny's anticorruption organization issued an investigative report alleging corruption benefiting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, one of Putin's closest allies.

At least 12 more complaints have been filed with the ECHR by Russian activists who say they faced police brutality or were persecuted for taking part in the rallies, or both.

Russian election authorities barred Navalny from the March 2018 ballot because of a financial-crimes conviction that he says was engineered by the Kremlin to punish him for his opposition activity and keep him out of electoral politics.

Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999 and is accused by critics of using the police and courts to stifle dissent, won a new six-year Kremlin term in that election.

Relatives of a spokesman for Tajikistan’s border service say that he was arrested earlier this month, confirming media reports that he was detained, but that they do not know where he is.

Muhammadjon Ulughkhojaev's mother told RFE/RL on April 29 that the family does not know why he was arrested. News reports have said he was accused of disclosing state secrets.

Zebo Ulughkhojaeva said that she last saw her son two weeks ago, and that authorities searched his home on April 16.

She said the family has hired a defense lawyer for her son, who is a spokesman for the Border Guard Directorate of the State Committee for National Security, but does not know what charges he might face.

Several Tajik officials said they were not authorized to comment, and others could not immediately be reached.

Citing unnamed security sources, the Akhbor news agency reported on April 26 that Ulughkhojaev was arrested for allegedly disclosing classified material to a “foreign organization.”

The Asia-Plus news agency reported on April 29 that Ulughkhojaev allegedly sent "state secrets" in communications via e-mail and online messenger.

Under Tajik law, the intentional disclosure of state secrets is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Akhbor and Asia-Plus reported that following the official's arrest, security committee head Saimumin Yatimov prohibited spokespeople from sharing information with reporters and others without prior authorization from their supervisors.

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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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