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)

  1. Russian 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)

  2. Navalny arrested again after fresh Russia protests

    A Russian court on June 13 sentenced opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to 30 days for staging unsanctioned rallies at which an estimated 1,150 anti-corruption protesters were detained. The judge at the Simonovsky district court ruled that Navalny, who was detained outside his home in an outlying Moscow neighborhood on June 12 before the rallies started, repeatedly violated the law against unauthorized public gatherings. (RFE/RL)

  3. Europe rights court: Navalny conviction arbitrary

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled (PDF) Oct. 17 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 (PDF) that Navalny's brother, Oleg Navalyy, was also unfairly and arbitrarily convicted for the same offenses. (Jurist)

  4. Nearly 1,600 arrested in anti-Putin protests

    Russians angered by the impending inauguration of Vladimir Putin to a new term as president protested May 5 in scores of cities across the country—and police responded by reportedly arresting nearly 1,600 of them.

    Among those arrested was protest organizer Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is Putin's most prominent foe. Police seized Navalny by the arms and legs and carried the thrashing activist from Moscow's Pushkin Square, where thousands were gathered for an unauthorized protest. (AP)