DISINFO: ECHR's Navalny ruling is an attempt to meddle in Russian affairs
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)’s demand that Moscow immediately release Alexei Navalny is an attempt to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs and exert pressure on Russian courts.
On 2 February, a Moscow court ruled that Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves-Rocher embezzlement case be converted to a real prison term of two years and six months. The claim that Navalny is a victim of repression has already been refuted by the ECHR itself; the latter found no evidence of political persecution in the Yves-Rocher case.
The claim is part of an ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign targeting Russian activist Alexei Navalny.
The story grossly misrepresents the ECHR’s interim ruling concerning Navalny’s arrest. The Court is not seeking a reversal of Navalny’s conviction, but merely imploring Russia to respect the defendant’s rights under the Convention. The ECHR press release summarising the above-mentioned ruling reads:
"The Court had regard to the nature and extent of risk to the applicant’s life, demonstrated prima facie for the purposes of applying the interim measure, and seen in the light of the overall circumstances of the applicant’s current detention. This measure has been granted without prejudice to the Court’s decision on the merits of the present case and the competence of the Committee of Ministers."
The assertion that the ECHR found no political motive in the Yves Rocher ruling is false. The operative part of the Court's judgment in Navalny v. Russia (2018) provides an exhaustive rebuttal of this claim:
["T]he applicant’s claim that his exercise of freedom of assembly has become a particular object for targeted suppression appears coherent within the broader context of the Russian authorities’ attempts at the material time to bring the opposition’s political activity under control" (para. 173, emphasis added).
"[T]he Court finds it established beyond reasonable doubt that the restrictions imposed on the applicant [...] pursued an ulterior purpose within the meaning of Article 18 of the Convention, namely to suppress that political pluralism which forms part of “effective political democracy” governed by “the rule of law" (para. 175, emphasis added).
Read a similar case claiming that Navalny’s arrest was in compliance with lawful procedures because he has a suspended sentence.