Russian high court deals blow to anti-protest law

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on Feb. 11 annulled the two-and-a-half year prison sentence of Ildar Dadin, who was the first person to be convicted under a new anti-protest law in 2015. Dadin was imprisoned under Article 212.1, a law that allows the Russian government to press criminal charges against anyone found to have serially participated in unsanctioned protests. According to case files, Dadin was arrested five times during rallies held between August 2014 and January 2015. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe welcomed the news of the court's decision and urged the Russian government to change its laws concerning freedom of assembly.

From Jurist, Feb. 22. Used with permission.

Note: An outspoken supporter of presecuted Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Dadin regularly protested against President Vladimir Putin's infamous "gay propaganda" law and Russian military action. Last November he reported that he was tortured in prison. (DW, BBC News)

Russia opposition leader jailed for resisting police orders

Alexei Navalny, a well-known Russian opposition leader, was arrested on March 26 at a demonstration protesting the alleged corruption of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The next day, the Tverskoy Court fined him 20,000 rubles ($350) for organizing the protest and sentenced him to 15 days in jail for resisting police orders. Protests against Medvedev took place in many other Russian cities on the 26th, including St. Petersburg. Police estimate between 7,000 and 8,000 people attended the Moscow protest. Moscow law enforcement officials reported that 500 individuals had been detained, but the human rights group OVD Info estimates twice that number.

This is not the first time Navalny has trouble with the Russian legal system. In February he was convicted and sentenced for embezzlement. That same month, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay more than €63,000 for arresting Navalny multiple times between March 2012 and February 2014. In May a Moscow court declined authorities' request to convert Navalny's suspended sentence into a prison term. He had been convicted of fraud and sentenced to three-and-a-half-years suspended sentence. In 2015 Navalny was handed a 15-day prison sentence for distributing leaflets attempting to publicize an "anti-crisis" demonstration. In 2014 Navalny and his brother, Oleg Navalny, were charged with embezzling approximately 30 million rubles ($518,000) from French cosmetics company, Yves Rocher Vostok, and the Multidisciplinary Processing Company by a fraud scheme between 2008 and 2012. (Jurist, March 27)