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Europe rights court: Russia opposition leader's conviction arbitrary

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[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [judgment] Tuesday that the conviction of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for fraud and money laundering was arbitrary and unfair, and granted damages.

The court also found [press release, PDF] that Navalny’s brother, Oleg Navalyy, was also unfairly and arbitrarily convicted for the same offenses. “[T]he Court concludes that in the determination of the criminal charges against the applicants the offence set out in Article 159.4 of the Criminal Code [of Russia], in force at the time of their conviction, was extensively and unforeseeably construed to their detriment.”

The Russian Justice Ministry has reported [TASS report] that they could potentially appeal the ruling within three months.

While this case stems from a 2014 arrest of the brothers, Alexei Navalny has claimed that his many convictions are politically motivated. Navalny stated on his personal website [text, in Russian]: “All this was arranged only for one purpose: to prevent my anti-corruption and political activities through pressure on me and my family.” The ECHR did not rule on whether the Russian courts’ actions were politically motivated.

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