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European court rules Russia violated rights of opposition leader Navalny

European court rules Russia violated rights of opposition leader Navalny
FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny pays respect to founder of Russia’s oldest human rights group and Sakharov Prize winner Lyudmila Alexeyeva in Moscow, Russia December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo   -   Copyright  Maxim Shemetov(Reuters)
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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 months from February 2014 while he and his brother Oleg were investigated for embezzlement in a case his supporters called politically motivated.

The court in Strasbourg said in a judgement 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”.

“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.”

The 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.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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