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Europe rights court rules Russia violated opposition leader's right to fair trial

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled [judgment; press release] Tuesday that Russia violated the right of Alexei Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov to a fair trial. Navalny was convicted of organizing and Ofitserov of facilitating large-scale embezzlement, including timber worth $500,000 from the state-owned company, Kirovles. The two defendants were tried after an anonymous co-accused party who served as a witness during the defendants' trial. Specifically, the prosecutor was allowed to read the statements of the co-accused during the defendants' trial. The court found that this violated their rights and that the criminal law had been "arbitrarily construed to the defendants' detriment." The ECHR ordered [Moscow Times report] the Russian government to pay USD $8,834 each for "moral damages" and $52,881 and $25,333 to Navalny and Ofitserov, respectively, to compensate them for their legal costs.

In May a Moscow court declined [JURIST report] 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. Last February Navalny was handed [JURIST report] 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 [JURIST report] with embezzling approximately 30 million rubles (USD $518,000) from French cosmetics company, Yves Rocher Vostok, and the Multidisciplinary Processing Company (MPC) by a fraud scheme between 2008 and 2012.

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