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Russia: Opposition leaders hope for judges’ support in human rights challenge

Two Russian opposition politicians hope Strasbourg judges will agree tomorrow that their human rights were breached by national authorities.

Navalnyy and Yashin v. Russia (no. 76204/11)

The applicants, Aleksey Navalnyy and Ilya Yashin, are Russian nationals who were born in 1976 and 1983 respectively and live in Moscow. Both applicants are political activists and opposition leaders.

Navalnyy is also a well-known anti-corruption campaigner and a popular blogger. Yashin is a leader of the political movement ‘Solidarnost’. The case concerns their arrest at a spontaneous demonstration, their subsequent detention and the administrative proceedings against them.

Both applicants were arrested following their participation in an authorised demonstration on 5 December 2011 to protest against the allegedly rigged elections of the State Duma, which had taken place the previous day. The applicants allege that they were arrested while on their way back to Navalnyy’s car and that they did not put up any resistance against the police. They were subsequently placed in police detention – consecutively in three different police stations – until being brought to court the following day. On that day, both applicants were sentenced to 15 days’ administrative detention for having disobeyed a lawful order of the police. Their appeals were dismissed on 7 December 2011.

The applicants complain that their arrest and detention violated their rights under Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association).

They further maintain that the administrative proceedings were in breach of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (b), (c), and (d) (right to a fair trial / right to adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence / right to legal assistance of own choosing / right to obtain attendance and examination of witnesses), in particular because video recordings of their arrest were not admitted as evidence and witnesses they had requested were not examined. Relying on Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security), they complain that their arrest and police detention was arbitrary and unlawful.

They also complain of the poor conditions of their detention and of the lack of legal remedies in that respect, relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

Finally, they allege that their arrest, detention and the administrative charges against them were in violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).

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