MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Moscow’s City Court sees no violations of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the ruling replacing Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence with an actual prison term.
"The court of appeal has found no violations of constitutional rights, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms during consideration of the motion in respect of convict Navalny, as well as of the norms of law of rights and procedural laws that might serve as a reason for canceling the ruling, including due to the defense arguments," as follows from the appellate judgement made available to TASS on Sunday.
In their motion challenging the court ruling, Navalny’s attorneys Vadim Kobzev and Olga Mikhailova claimed that the first instance court violated article 6 (Right to a fair trial) and article 7 (No punishment without law) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has no right to issue binding instructions to Russian courts, as follows from the Moscow City Court’s appellate ruling concerning Navalny’s case.
"The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on immediate release that was provided by Navalny’s defense cannot be taken into consideration as this court instance is not a higher instance for the Russian judicial system and has no right to issue any categoric instructions or interfere into the activities of national courts linked with the enforcement of verdicts that came into force. This issue is in the competence of Russian courts only under the national legislation," the document says.
According to the document, the Strasbourg court ruling can be seen as an appeal of the Committee of Ministers addressed to the Russian government rather than to Russian courts. For this reason, it has nothing to do with the judicial matter on cancelling the suspended sentence.
The ECHR in mid-February demanded that Russia release Navalny immediately under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court. The ruling has not yet been officially published.
Navalny’s attorney Olga Mikhailova filed a motion with the Moscow City Court on his immediate release on the basis of this ruling of the Strasbourg Court.
Russia’s ministry justice told TASS earlier that Russia cannot release Navalny on the ECHR’s demand because it would be a flagrant interference into the work of the judicial system of a sovereign state, "a certain crossing of the red line."
Navalny, who received suspended sentences for embezzlement twice, was wanted in Russia for repeated violations of conditions of his conviction in the Yves Rocher case. On January 17, 2021 he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport upon arrival from Berlin. Moscow’s Khimki Court placed him under arrest. Moscow’s Simonovsky district court on February 2 ruled to satisfy the Federal Penitentiary Service’s motion and replaced Navalny’s 3.5 year suspended sentence under the Yves Rocher embezzlement case with an actual prison term on charges of repeated violations of his sentence terms. On February 20, the Moscow City court upheld this ruling.