European court for human rights to announce decision on Slivenko case next week

The European Court for Human Rights will announce its decision on the "Tatiana Slivenko vs. Latvia" case in the middle of the next week at the earliest, Slivenko's attorneys Alexander Asnis and Vitaly Portnov told RIA Novosti.

Earlier in the day, the attorneys had a meeting with ECHR secretary Paul Mahoney, who told them that the court intended to announce the decision in written form simultaneously to all parties concerned.

Asnis thinks the fact that the court's "second most important person" agreed to meet with attorneys and spent a whole hour talking to them shows the democratism and accessibility of the Strasbourg Court.

The Russian family of Nikolai Slivenko, a retired Soviet Army lieutenant colonel and a resident of Riga, was forced to leave Latvia in 1996, when local law enforcers raided their flat, seized all of their documents and ordered the Slivenkos out of the country. The family moved to Kursk, Russia and have so far been unable to visit Slivenko's elderly parents, who still reside in Latvia.

The ECHR first considered the appeal of the Russian citizen Tatiana Slivenko and her family "against Latvia" on November 14, 2001, heard the arguments of the Russian and Latvian parties and of Slivenko's attorneys, and gave them some time to get ready with written answers to the court's questions.

The court was to take a decision on Slivenko's case on December 12, 2001, but the session was postponed until later because of the complexity of the case and the multitude of different opinions.

The verdict in the Slivenko case will be extremely important for any future court decisions on similar appeals from Russians residing in Latvia. By now, the ECHR has received almost 20 appeals against the Latvian Republic from citizens of Russia or ethnic Russians.

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