Case of European Court of Human Rights, January 14, 2020 (case BASHIN AND CHEKUNOV v. RUSSIA)

Defense:RUSSIA
Resolution Date:January 14, 2020
SUMMARY

Violation of Article 5 - Right to liberty and security (Article 5-4 - Speediness of review);Violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 - Right not to be tried or punished twice-{general} (Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 - Right not to be tried or punished twice)

 
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THIRD SECTION

CASE OF BASHIN AND CHEKUNOV v. RUSSIA

(Application no. 44015/07)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

14 January 2020

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Bashin and Chekunov v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

Georgios A. Serghides, President,Erik Wennerström,Lorraine Schembri Orland, judges,and Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 3 December 2019,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

  1. The case originated in an application (no. 44015/07) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by two Russian nationals, Mr Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bashin (“the first applicant”) and Mr Sergey Viktorovich Chekunov (“the second applicant”), on 15 September 2007.

  2. The applicants were represented by Ms O. Tseytlina, a lawyer practising in St Petersburg. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights, and then by his successor in that office, Mr M. Galperin.

  3. On 3 September 2015 notice was given to the Government of the complaints under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention and Article 4 § 1 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.

  4. The Russian Government objected to the examination of the application by a Committee. Having considered the Government’s objection, the Court rejects it.

    THE FACTS

  5. The applicants were born in 1972 and 1986 respectively and live in St Petersburg.

  6. On 22 November 2006 the first applicant was accused of committing an administrative offence under Article 19.3 (resisting a lawful order from a public official or impeding his work) of the Code of Administrative Offences (“the CAO”). The second applicant was accused of an offence under Article 20.17 of the CAO (violating the entry regime for a secured facility).

  7. An administrative-offence record was compiled in respect of each applicant. The cases were then submitted to a justice of the peace.

  8. At the first applicant’s trial Officer G. stated that on 22 November 2006 he had seen the first applicant push Officer M. away from the doors of the meeting room in St Petersburg Legislative Assembly. Officer M. was also interviewed and stated that while a young man was asking G. about the way to the meeting room “four young men had irrupted into the meeting room, having pushed him [M.] away from its doors”.

  9. At the second applicant’s trial Officer G. made a similar statement relating to that applicant’s involvement in the events on 22 November 2006 except for any act of violence toward any public official.

  10. By two judgments of 27 November 2006 the justice of the peace convicted each applicant under Article 19.3 § 1 of the CAO and sentenced them to a period of ten days’ detention each.

  11. The trial court described the factual circumstances held against the first applicant as follows:

    “The court has established that:

    [The applicant] ... showed clear disobedience (неповиновение) as regards a lawful order from a police officer ... Specifically, after entering the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly without a valid document (an entry pass) and disregarding the orders from the police officer, when entering the meeting room he showed disobedience to the police by not presenting a valid document for his presence there, he pushed a police officer away from the door, entered the meeting room, was running around, shouting various slogans and throwing leaflets ... In response to a lawful order to leave the meeting room, he refused to comply. Physical force had to be used against him.”

  12. The trial court described the factual circumstances held against the second applicant in a similar manner, except for the part relating to pushing an officer. It held as follows:

    “The court has established that:

    [The applicant] ... showed clear disobedience (неповиновение) as regards a lawful order from a police officer ... Specifically, after entering the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly without a valid document (an entry pass) and disregarding the orders from the police officer, when entering the meeting room he showed disobedience to the police by not presenting a valid document for his presence there, he entered the meeting room, was running around, shouting various slogans and throwing leaflets ... In response to a lawful order to leave the meeting room, he refused to comply. Physical force had to be used against him.”

  13. It appears that the above judgments became final ten days later, in the absence of any appeal.

  14. In the meantime, on 24 November 2006, the authorities opened a criminal investigation against the applicants for offences falling within the scope of Article 318 § 1 (recourse to violence against a public official, without endangering his or her health or life; применение насилия не опасного для жизни или здоровья) and Article 319 (insulting a public official) of the Criminal Code. The decision to initiate criminal proceedings (постановление о возбуждении уголовного дела) reads as follows:

    “[The applicants] and some others acted as a group and, with the intention of insulting public officials and using violence which did not endanger life or limb, pushed two officers, thereby causing them physical pain ... In the presence of other people [the applicants] were running around in the meeting room and were distributing leaflets ...

    They are also accused of publicly insulting a public official: ... they were throwing out leaflets containing insulting remarks in respect of the President of the Legislative Assembly and other members of the Assembly ...”

  15. On 27 November and 12 December 2006 the first and second applicants respectively were formally given the status of an “accused” party in the criminal case. The related decision (постановление о привлечении в качестве обвиняемого) in respect of the first applicant reads as follows:

    “[The first applicant] is accused of using violence, which did not endanger life or limb, against a law enforcement officer ... namely: ... acting with intent [the first applicant] pushed the officer in the chest using both hands, thereby causing physical pain ...”

    It appears that a decision was issued in the same terms in respect of the second applicant.

  16. It seems that the subsequent bill of indictment (обвинительное заключение) in respect of the applicants contained the same description of the factual circumstances of the case.

  17. On 7 December 2006 the Oktyabrskiy District Court of St Petersburg authorised holding the applicants in detention on remand for the purposes of the criminal investigation. Thus, having served their ten-day terms of detention, the applicants were not released.

  18. On 2 February 2007 the District Court examined the authorities’ request for an extension of the detention on remand and granted it, authorising the authorities to hold the applicants in detention until 27 February 2007. It appears that the applicants did raise the fact that they had already been convicted of an administrative offence in relation to the same events, but the court did not address that matter. The detention order was amenable to appeal within ten days. The applicants each lodged an appeal, seemingly on 5 February 2007. They argued, inter alia, that they had already been convicted for the same facts in the administrative-offence proceedings. On 16 March 2007 the appeal court reasoned that the order of 2 February 2007 had been unlawful on procedural grounds and ordered a re‑examination of the matter by the District Court. Eventually, on 19 April 2007 the District Court dismissed the above request for an extension of the detention on remand in respect of the first applicant, and on 14 May 2007 the same decision was reached in respect of the second applicant.

  19. In the meantime (that is, before their appeal against the order of 2 February 2007 could be examined), on 22 February 2007 the District Court granted a further extension of...

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