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Russia Challenges Human Rights Court Ruling On Navalny Ally

Elvira Dmitriyeva pictured in October 2018.
Elvira Dmitriyeva pictured in October 2018.

Russia’s Justice Ministry said it is challenging a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in favor of an ally of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.

In a press statement cited by Interfax, the Justice Ministry said it filed a petition with the Grand Chamber of the ECHR containing "substantial arguments."

The court on April 30 awarded 15,300 euros to Elvira Dmitriyeva, who coordinated Navalny's attempted presidential campaign in the Tatarstan Republic’s capital of Kazan in 2017.

She was fined in March 2017 for posting an announcement about an anti-corruption rally in Kazan, and days later was sentenced to 10 days in jail for taking part in a March 26 protest in support of Navalny, which was not approved by city officials.

The ECHR ruling was the first decision linked to the March 26, 2017 nationwide rallies in support of Navalny's bid to run for president.

Now, the Justice Ministry’s petition said, "that the organization and holding of a public event that executive authorities didn’t authorize… [was] carried out by the plaintiff in violation of the provisions of Russian legislation."

The ECHR's Grand Chamber accepts what it calls "referrals" on an "exceptional basis."

Before it presides over a challenge to the court’s ruling, a panel of judges of the chamber decides whether a case should be referred to it for fresh consideration.

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 rallies, or both.

Russian election officials eventually barred Navalny from the March 2018 presidential election 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.

Vladimir 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 term in that election.

With reporting by Interfax
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