17 Feb 2021 17:30

ECHR demands Russia free Navalny from detention - lawyer

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has demanded that the Russian authorities free opposition activist Alexei Navalny from detention, Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova said.

"The European Court of Human Rights has invoked Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, indicating to the Russian government that it must immediately free Navalny from the detention facility," Mikhailova said.

This decision has been made by "the ECHR for the first time, and the Russian authorities must obey it," she said.

The ECHR's decision on an interim measure says that, in making it, a Chamber of seven judges "had regard to the nature and extent of risk to the applicant's life" and "in the light of the overall circumstances of the applicant's current detention."

The court said, "this measure has been granted without prejudice to the Court's decision on the merits of the present case."

Navalny returned to Russia on January 17 and was detained at the airport based on the Federal Penitentiary Service's previous decision to declare him wanted.

The Simonovsky District Court on February 2 upheld a motion of the Federal Penitentiary Service's Moscow branch at a visiting session held on the premises of the Moscow City Court to cancel Navalny's suspended sentence and replace it with 3.5 years in a general penitentiary, consistent with the sentence pronounced earlier in the Yves Rocher case. Navalny and his brother Oleg were found guilty of embezzlement in December 2014.

The Simonovsky Court counted the number of days Navalny spent under house arrest during the investigation and trial in 2014 toward the period of imprisonment he has yet to serve. Navalny's lawyer said that, if the sentence takes legal effect, he will actually have to serve about two years and eight months and will be freed in October 2023.