STRASBOURG/MOSCOW (Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Russia violated the rights of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by placing him under house arrest in 2014 and imposing other restrictive measures on him.
Navalny was held under house arrest for 10 months from February 2014 while he and his brother Oleg were investigated for embezzlement in a case that his supporters called politically motivated.
The court in Strasbourg said in a judgment that the house-arrest order had not been justified and that tough restrictions on him communicating with the outside world had been out of proportion with the criminal charges he faced.
It said it was “apparent he had been treated in that way in order to curtail his public activities” and ordered Russia to pay him over 22,000 euros for damages and expenses.
“Victory,” Navalny wrote on social media in response to the ruling. “I am sure this ruling will have important consequences for all those in Russia who are constantly subjected to this kind of lawlessness.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow could “hardly agree with the essence” of the judgment and that it was “fairly unexpected”, but that it was up to Russia’s Justice Ministry to look at the matter in detail.
Russia can appeal the judgment, which was reached unanimously by the court’s judges.
Navalny, a 42-year-old anti-corruption campaigner, is Russia’s most prominent opposition figure. He sought to compete in Russia’s presidential elections in March 2018, but was barred because of a prior conviction.
President Vladimir Putin won re-election by a landslide.
Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Frances Kerry