The European Court of Human Rights sides with Pussy Riot and Anna Politkovskaya's relatives in two rulings against Russia

Meduza

Pussy Riot

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Russian government to pay compensation to the three members of Pussy Riot convicted of “hooliganism” for performing their infamous “punk prayer” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in February 2012. Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were each awarded 16,000 euros ($18,775), and Ekaterina Samutsevich was granted 5,000 euros ($5,870). The ECHR also says Moscow must compensate the women for 11,700 euros ($13,730) in legal expenses. According to the court, the women were denied their right to a fair trial.

Responding to the verdict, Russia’s Justice Ministry told reporters that Moscow still has three months before the ruling takes effect, during which time the government can file an appeal. All three Pussy Riot members were originally sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Samutsevich’s punishment was later commuted to probation. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova were imprisoned for more than a year before they were both released in a general amnesty ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Anna Politkovskaya

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Russian government to pay 20,000 euros ($23,460) jointly in non-pecuniary damages to four relatives of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in October 2006. The ECHR found that Russian law enforcement officials failed to carry out an effective investigation into Politkovskaya’s murder, failing to meet requirements for adequacy, promptness, and the involvement of relatives.

In 2014, the Moscow City Court convicted five people of carrying out the murder, sentencing the perpetrators to prison terms ranging between 12 years and life imprisonment. Police never found the person or persons who commissioned the assassination, however. The ECHR ruled that Russian investigators focused for years exclusively on rumors that Boris Berezovsky was tied to the murder, despite a lack of evidence to support this theory. “Furthermore, given Anna Politkovskaya’s work covering the conflict in Chechnya, the investigative authorities should have explored the alleged implication of the officials from the Federal Security Service or from the administration of the Chechen Republic, even if such allegations were eventually proved unfounded,” the ECHR argued.