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Russia : Checkmate for Kasparov as court backs former chess champion’s human rights challenge

Human rights judges ruled today that the arrest and detention of Garri Kasparov and another activist during a protest rally discouraged participation in opposition politics.

In today’s chamber judgment1 in the case the European Court of Human Rights held:

unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards the applicants Kasparov and Averin;

a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on account of Averin’s administrative detention in a Moscow police station for 48 hours, which had exceeded
the three-hour time-limit under domestic law, but no violation of Article 5 as regards Mr Kasparov’s detention in the police station as it had not exceeded that time-limit;

and

by six votes to one, that there was no need to examine the complaint under Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).

Under Article 41 (just satisfaction), the court held that Russia was to pay each of the applicants 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage and EUR 3,000 for costs and expenses.

As in a number of other identical Russian cases which have come before the court, the applicants’ – undeniably peaceful – procession had been dispersed, the applicants arrested and sentenced to five days’ imprisonment in administrative proceedings without any assessment of the disturbance they had caused or any opportunity at all to give evidence in support of their version of events.

Indeed, the measures taken against the applicants had had the serious potential to deter other opposition supporters and the public at large from attending demonstrations and, more generally, from
participating in open political debate.

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