Another ECHR ruling in favor of Alexei Navalny

The ECHR’s Grand Chamber published its final judgment in Navalnyy v. Russia yesterday.

The Russian opposition leader (whose last name is more often transliterated as Navalny, without the extra “y”) complained that

his arrest, detention and administrative conviction on seven occasions in 2012 and 2014 had breached his rights and had been politically motivated.

In the Russian context, an “administrative conviction” means a misdemeanor conviction under the so-called Administrative Code. It covers offenses considered less than criminal, tried in a fast-track procedure without the standard criminal trial protections, and punishable by fines, community service or imprisonment for up to 30 days.

The ECHR’s 17-judge Grand Chamber upheld the 2017 findings in favor of Navalny by one of the Court’s seven-judge chambers. It also ruled in Navalny’s favor on one point dismissed in 2017. According to its press release, the Grand Chamber

held unanimously that there had been:

a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security/lawfulness of arrest or detention) of the European Convention on Human Rights,

a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) as regards six sets of administrative proceedings,

no violation of Article 6 § 1 over a seventh set of administrative proceedings, and

a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention.

It also held by fourteen votes to three that there had been,

a violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) of the Convention.

It’s remarkable that the Russian judge voted with the others to find the Article 5 § 1, 6 § 1, and 11 violations, even though he dissented on Article 18. The same judge also joined the unanimous majority in the Beslan case decided by a panel in 2017 (Tagayeva and others v. Russia), agreeing that Russia had violated Article 2 of the European Convention “in respect of the positive obligation to prevent the threat to life” and “of the obligation to carry out an effective investigation.”

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