European court faults Russian investigation of Navalny poisoning

European court faults Russian investigation of Navalny poisoning

The 2020 investigation by Russian authorities into the alleged poisoning of Alexei Navalny has been ruled inadequate by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This week, the Strasbourg-based court, in making its ruling, ordered Russia’s government to pay damages of 40,000 euros to the jailed opposition leader.

According to an ECHR statement, the Russian inquiry had not been open to scrutiny and had ignored Navalny’s right to participate in the proceedings.

The ECHR concluded that the Russian investigation had failed to explore allegations of a possible political motive for Navalny’s attempted murder, including the possible involvement of state agents, and that Moscow had failed to follow up on the reported use of a substance identified as a chemical weapon. The inquiry “had not been capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and, if appropriate, punishment of those responsible. It therefore could not be considered adequate,” it declared.

Navalny survived an apparent attempt to poison him during an internal flight in Siberia in August 2020. Subsequent laboratory tests in the West determined that the Kremlin’s foremost opposition critic had been administered a nerve agent. After being treated in Germany, Navalny returned voluntarily to Russia in 2021. On landing, he was arrested and jailed.

Navalny accused the Russian state of trying to kill him, a claim it has denied. He filed a series of cases against the Russian authorities through the ECH.

Russia’s parliament voted in June 2022 to end the ECHR’s jurisdiction in the country. However, according to an ECHR spokeswoman, since Russia was a member of the court and the Council of Europe when the alleged poisoning occurred, this week’s judgment applies and will be referred to the Council of Europe for enforcement. Meanwhile, some 30 cases filed by Navalny and his relatives are pending before the court, according to the ECHR.


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