9 Apr 2019 14:12

ECHR awards Navalny 20,000 euro for house arrest in Yves Rocher case - lawyer

MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has granted Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's appeal against Russian court rulings placing him under house arrest in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case, resolving that his rights had been violated.

"The court has found Navalny's rights to have been violated, resolving that placing him under house arrest was an excessive and politically-motivated restrictive measure. His right to free speech was also violated," lawyer Olga Mikhailova told Interfax on Tuesday.

Mikhailova said that, according to her information, it was the first time the ECHR had handed down a judgment concerning house arrest in relation to Russia.

"In accordance with the court's judgment, Navalny has been awarded 20,000 euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage and 2,500 euros in compensation for court expenses. We are satisfied with the court's judgment," she said.

The ECHR's judgment has not yet taken legal effect and may be contested by the Russian government.

Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court ruled on December 30, 2014 to find Alexei and Oleg Navalny guilty of massive business fraud combined with premeditated failure to fulfill contractual obligations and legalization of criminal proceeds.

The investigation and the court determined that the brothers had embezzled 26.9 million rubles from Yves Rocher and 4.5 million rubles from the Multi-Profile Processing Company through the Main Subscription Agency (Glavpodpiska).

Judge Yelena Korobchenko gave Alexei Navalny a suspended sentence of three years and six months in prison and five years' probation, and Oleg Navalny three years and six months in a general security penitentiary.

The ECHR found in October 2017 that the proceedings against Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny in the criminal case in which they were charged with and convicted of embezzling Yves Rocher's assets were unlawful and awarded them a total of over 80,000 euros in compensation.

The Court found that European Convention on Human Rights Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Clause 1 of Article 7 ("No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed") were violated in relation to Alexei Navalny and Oleg Navalny. "The Court considered that the domestic courts' decisions were arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable," it said.

The ECHR judgment took legal effect in early March 2018, following which the Navalny brothers filed a petition with the Russian Supreme Court to reopen proceedings in the case.

The Supreme Court reopened the proceedings in April 2018 but did not change the sentence, reasoning that "only the Russian Criminal Code qualifies a deed as criminal, as well as determining punishment for it and other criminal legal consequences."