Alexei Navalny (center foreground) at a meeting in the Supreme court of Russia, where on the basis of the decision of the European court of human rights considered the question of review of his case
The Supreme court on Wednesday, November 16, overturned the conviction of Alexei Navalny in the “case of “Kirovles”, the correspondent of RBC. The case was transferred for consideration in the new structure to the Leninsky district court of Kirov.
“I have no desire to go to Kirov. This is done to prevent my political activities and my investigation. Today I was supposed to be justified, but sun refused to execute the decisions of the ECHR. We will complain to the Council of Europe,” — commented the decision of the Supreme court, Navalny himself.
In February 2016, the judges of the ECHR found that Russia had violated the rights of the second convict Navalny and Peter ofitserova to a fair trial (article 6 of the European Convention on human rights) during the consideration of the “case “Kirovec”, and the right, enshrined in article 7: the right to punishment under the law.
The ECHR found that the main violation was a separate consideration of the case of Navalny and Ofitserov with the ex-head of KOGUP “Kirovles” Vyacheslav Opalev, who signed a plea deal and was convicted first. Then it was his testimony were the main evidence of the investigation and formed the basis for a conviction.
In the end, the Strasbourg court awarded the oppositionist Alexey Navalny and businessman Peter Ofitserova compensation of €8 thousand and the reimbursement of litigation costs.
This decision of the ECtHR entered into force in June. After that, the President of the Supreme court Vyacheslav Lebedev has made a submission to the presidency and initiated consideration of the issue.
First the Supreme court was made by the representative of the Prosecutor General — Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Vinnichenko. He insisted that Opalev participated in the trial as a witness and was questioned in the courtroom. “Most of the questions he answered “do not remember” or “do not know” — said the Prosecutor. He claimed that Opalev’s participation as a defendant in no way would have changed the fate of the accused.
At the end of the speech the public Prosecutor asked the Supreme court to leave the verdict Navalny unchanged.
“The court found such serious violations that cannot be fixed,” rose, Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova. She insisted that the only legitimate solution may be to cancel the sentence and terminate the case in connection with absence of structure of a crime.
Navalny himself, speaking in court, reminded that the European court in its decision also recognized that the Russian courts have allowed a free interpretation of the law and condemned him and Ofitserov for commercial activities.
“Our case should be dismissed, said Navalny. — I should be returned the right to be elected. This criminal case was necessary to prevent me from participating in the elections.”
He recalled that the tried three times already. On his account except the verdict on the “case “Kirovec” the verdict of embezzlement of funds from the French company “Yves Rocher” and a case of libel on municipal Deputy.
The Story Of “Kirovles”
In July 2013, the Leninsky district court of Kirov found Navalny and Ofitserov guilty of fraud in especially large size. According to investigators, they illegally received from KOGUP “Kirovles” 10 thousand cubic meters of wood worth 16 million rubles to the company ofitserova — LLC “Vyatka forest company” — and then sold.
Navalny and Ofitserov’s guilt denied and insisted that the forest company VLK listed “Kirovles” RUB 15.5 million and found buyers for these products, which could not independently implement the “Kirovles”. Initially, the court has appointed punishment in the form of 5 and 4 years imprisonment respectively. In the fall when the appeal by the Kirov regional court changed the actual sentence to a suspended one.
Detention of Navalny and Officers were one day: immediately after the sentence of the district court Prosecutor’s office appealed against the application to them of arrest until the decision enters into force.
23 Oct 2015 Nikulinskiy court satisfied the claim of “Kirovles” on damages. The court ordered Navalny, Ofitserov and Opalev to pay almost 16.2 million RUB In 2013, the representatives of the company refused the civil suit. According to Navalny’s lawyer Vadim Kobzev, in fact, the plaintiffs demanded a double payment for the products, as Vyatka forest company has already paid all the timber for the sum of 14,8 million rubles, which is confirmed not only by documents, but the verdict of the Leninsky district court of Kirov. The decision of Nikulinskiy court Navalny and Officers appealed against in Moscow city court.
“The Supreme court very rarely reverses the sentences on the basis of the decision of the ECHR and submits them for revision”, — told RBC Director of the Center for support of international protection of Valentin Moiseev. He noted that he did not know a single case to a Russian court reviewed a criminal case after the decision of the Strasbourg.
In 2013, the Presidium of the Supreme court refused to cancel or send for retrial the case of former chief of security service NK “YUKOS”, Alexei Pichugin, although the ECHR found that it also violated the right to a fair trial.
The year before that in 2012, the Supreme court also refused to submit to a revision of the verdict of the scientist Igor Sutyagin convicted of treason. But by the time Sutyagin for two years was released in 2010, him and some people changed to “Russian spies” detained in the United States.