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European Court To Rule On Navalny's Complaint About 2014 House Arrest


Russian opposition leader and anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny (file photo)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is due on April 9 to issue a ruling about a complaint raised against Russian authorities by opposition leader and anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny.

Navalny has argued his rights were violated in early 2014 by a Moscow court that ordered him to be placed under house arrest at the request of investigators who were working on an embezzlement case against him involving the French cosmetics firm Yves Rocher.

He and his brother Oleg were convicted in December 2014 by a Russian court on charges of embezzling 30 million rubles -- then worth about $442,000 -- from the Russian branch of Yves Rocher and another firm.

But the Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled in October 2017 that the Russian courts violated the right to a fair trial of both the opposition leader and his brother in the case.

That ECHR ruling initially held that their convictions in the Yves Rocher case fell outside the definition of fraud.

'Unlawful And Arbitrary'

When Russia appealed that decision, the ECHR reconsidered the case and in November 2018 expanded its ruling against Russian authorities.

It found that Russia violated Navalny’s rights over numerous arrests and detentions from 2012 to 2014, calling them "unlawful and arbitrary" and "politically motivated."

Navalny is one of President Vladimir Putin’s main political opponents in Russia.

Since leading mass protests in Moscow in 2011 and 2012, Navalny has campaigned against corruption under Putin.

He has been banned from running for public office in Russia because of the embezzlement conviction that the ECHR has ruled was politically motivated.

Russia's Constitutional Court has ruled that officials can ignore judgments by the ECHR if they are found to contravene the Russian Constitution.

Russia has lost a number of high-profile cases in the Strasbourg court and been ordered to pay out hefty compensation in scores of politically embarrassing cases.

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