MOSCOW, February 7 (RAPSI) – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia violated rights of twenty-three applicants, who complained of a breach of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in 2009-2012, the court’s ruling reads on Tuesday.

According to the applicants, they sought to organize various rallies and demonstrations in Russia, including political ones, but each time these initiatives were obstructed by authorities, whether through denying rights for such rallies or by creating additional problems in those cases when rallies were authorized. Overall, fifteen similar appeals were filed with the ECHR and were combined into one case later.

Applicants planned to organize rally in memory of murdered lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in Samara in January 2009; protest demonstration against Moscow municipal authorities in March 2010; gay pride parade in St. Petersburg in June 2010 and 2011 as well as other similar initiatives. Notably, one of the appeals was filed by Russian opposition activists Lev Ponomaryov, Evgeny Ikhlov and Sergey Udaltsov.

ECHR acknowledged violations of Articles 11 (Freedom of assembly and association) and 13 (Right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention of Human Rights in respect of each applicant. In addition, the court ruled that in some instances Articles 5 (Right to liberty and security) and 6 (Right to a fair trial) were also violated.

The court ruled Russia to pay €183,500 to the applicants in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages as well as costs and expenses.