The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday unanimously ruled that Russia had “notably” failed to investigate the poisoning of anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny.
The opposition figure, who was lauded as a potential political rival of President Vladimir Putin, was placed on life support after the 2020 poisoning.
What the court said
The Strasbourg-based judges said Russia had neglected “to explore the allegations of a possible political motive for the attempted murder, as well as possible involvement of state agents.”
The ECHR noted that German tests had shown “definite proof” that the chemical nerve agent Novichok was present in Navalny’s system.
Judges said Russia’s inquiry into what had happened was not open to scrutiny and Navalny had not been allowed to participate.
The bench said the probe was not “capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and, if appropriate, punishment of those responsible.”
“It [the investigation] therefore could not be considered adequate.”
The judges said Russia had broken the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered it to pay Navalny €40,000 ($43,000) in damages.
Court still holds Kremlin liable
The 47-year-old dissident Navalny fell ill while on a flight from Siberia and was evacuated to Germany where he recovered from what the West said was an assassination attempt. However, he returned to Moscow and was imprisoned, remaining behind bars ever since and repeatedly facing new charges.
Navalny’s supporters and Western nations say the charges and convictions against him are politically motivated.
Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe after invading Ukraine and ceased to be a party to the Convention on September 16, 2022.
However, the ECHR insists that it is bound to comply with rulings on alleged actions or violations up until that date.
Several thousand lawsuits are still pending against Russia relating to the time before the deadline.