The European Court of Human Rights demanded Russian opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny be released from custody. In this judgment, the ECHR relies on Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court on the application of interim measures. The rule is binding, and it is used if the court finds that the applicant is in danger.
The news about the requirement of the ECHR to immediately release Navalny came from his lawyer, Olga Mikhailova.
She noted that "the European Court of Human Rights applied Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court and ordered the Russian government to immediately release Navalny from the detention center."
Mikhailova stressed out that such a decision was "made by the ECHR for the first time, and the Russian authorities must execute it."
The ECHR made such a decision, "having considered circumstances and possibilities that jeopardise the applicant's life", taking into account "general circumstances of the applicant's current detention".
On February 2, the Simonovsky District Court of Moscow overturned Navalny's suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case and replaced it with a real jail term.
It should be noted that information about a decision that the ECHR could make appeared on February 16. As a matter of fact, the decision was made the same day, but it was reported only a day later.
The ECHR decision was made public a few days before the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union, which, among other things, will be devoted to the topic of EU-Russia relations. The question about new sanctions against Russia will most likely be considered at the meeting as well.
What's next, how will the Russian authorities act?
TASS news agency quoted the Russian Ministry of Justice, representatives of which said that Russia could not release Navalny as part of interim measures at the request from the ECHR, because such a move would mean gross interference in the work of the judicial system of a sovereign state.
The ECHR, due to the principle of subsidiarity, shall not replace the national court, nor shall it cancel or change decisions made by the national court, which is recognized by all countries of the Council of Europe.
In addition, spokespeople for the Ministry of Justice noted that the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights does not envisage interim measures at all. They shall rather be implemented on the good will of the states. The decision to release a convicted person from penitentiary institutions clearly comes contrary to the legal nature of interim measures, the purpose of which is to ensure the normal consideration of cases at the ECHR, representatives of the Ministry of Justice said.
In general, Russia's opinion on the subject is clear and does not imply any interpretations.