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European Court Rules Russia Must Pay Navalny For Unlawful Arrests

Aleksei Navalny attends a court hearing in Kirov on January 31.
Aleksei Navalny attends a court hearing in Kirov on January 31.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Russia to pay opposition activist Aleksei Navalny more than 63,000 euros ($68,000) in compensation for unlawful arrests and other rights violations.

The ruling was posted on the court's website on February 2 as Navalny, an outspoken anticorruption campaigner and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was on trial in the provincial Russian city of Kirov in a politically charged case.

Navalny, a key leader of antigovernment protests in 2011-12, has been convicted twice on financial-crimes charges he says were trumped up by the Kremlin as retribution for his opposition to Putin.

The ECHR ruled that Russia violated Navalny's right to free assembly seven times between 2012 and 2014 and had unlawfully detained him seven times. It also said that he was unlawfully placed in pretrial detention twice.

The current trial began after the Supreme Court threw out a 2013 conviction and ordered a retrial.

Navalny has announced plans to run for president in 2018, but if he is found guilty again he is likely to be barred from seeking political office.

The court ordered him on February 1 not to leave Kirov while the retrial is under way. Navalny refused to sign the order, saying that he plans to visit St. Petersburg on February 4.

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