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E X E C U T I V E   S U M M A R Y

Françoise Tulkens, who is a member of the TrialWatch Experts Panel, assigned this trial a grade of F: Aleksey Navalny’s conviction for slander is but the latest in a long lineage of politicized prosecutions he has faced. This particular charge—based on his criticism of those who appeared in a pro-Putin video—is inconsistent with the international standards protecting the right to freedom of expression.

Moreover, at trial the domestic court’s treatment of the evidence, including its disregard of defense arguments, was sufficiently arbitrary as to constitute a denial of justice under the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee. The domestic court likewise failed to respect Mr. Navalny’s right to question witnesses in order to develop his defense, adopting the cramped view that he was only entitled to ask questions of witnesses that were ‘relevant to the charges.’ But perhaps most importantly, the proceedings appear to have been designed to tar Mr. Navalny as ‘anti-Russian’ by suggesting he is hostile to veterans of World War II.

In fact, it is this prosecution that bears all the hallmarks of political hostility: It meets the threshold to be deemed an abuse of power under Article 18 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Further, in light of Mr. Navalny’s prior treatment by the Russian authorities, which has in several cases been found to have violated the European Convention, this most recent conviction amounts to a persistent violation of his rights, which is why this case has been given a grade of ‘F’ under the methodology set out in the Annex.