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Russia To Appeal European Court Ruling For Navalny

Aleksei Navalny

The Russian Justice Ministry says it will appeal a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that ordered Russia to pay some 56,000 euros ($62,000) in compensation to opposition leader Aleksei Navalny for violating his right to a fair trial.

The ECHR, which made the ruling on February 23 in Strasbourg, France, said the money was to cover Navalny's court costs and to award him damages.

The ECHR verdict is based on a 2013 case against Navalny and his former business partner, Pyotr Ofitserov, who were convicted in Moscow of embezzlement in a trial that many right groups said was politically motivated.

Navalny is a leading foe of President Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors said he was part of a group that embezzled timber worth 16 million rubles ($500,000 at the time) from Russia’s state-owned company Kirovles.

Navalny welcomed the February 23 ruling, saying in a statement "the time will come when we can obtain justice in a Russian court, and not only in the ECHR."

Navalny said the ruling would oblige Russia's Supreme Court to overturn his conviction.

But Russia passed a law last year claiming the right to disregard ECHR rulings if they conflict with the national constitution.

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and Reuters