Navalnyy and Gunko v. Russia (Application no. 75186/12)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgment.



45.The Court observes that the relevant part of thevideo-recording, as described in paragraph 9 above, reveals that when the first applicant was transferred to the police station he did not put up any visible resistance. From the moment when he was put on his feet until he entered the police station, the police officers’ interaction with him consisted in asking whether he would start walking by himself, demanding that he stay still, and threatening to break his arm. At that moment several police officers and the first applicant were away from the crowd, and nobody could be seen on the footage apart from them. Nothing in the video-recording suggests that this manner of restraining the first applicant was indispensable for bringing him to the police station. It does not appear from the material available to the Court that the circumstances surrounding the use of force during the first applicant’s arrest were established and analysed during the pre-investigation check conducted as a result of his complaint (see paragraphs 17-24 above). The authorities limited themselves to conducting that check and refused to investigate the alleged ill-treatment in criminal proceedings. 

46. In view of the above, the Court has no basis for accepting the Government’s submission that the first applicant’s resistance to the police had made it necessary tomanoeuvre him in a painful way on the way to the police station. 

47. The Court further observes that the first applicant’s arrest was carried out by a group of well-equipped police officers. While they transferred the first applicant, who was alone as they left the venue, he did not offer any visible resistance to the police, according to the video footage.

48. In view of the foregoing considerations, the Court concludes that it has not been convincingly shown that the recourse to physical force by the police was made strictly necessary by the first applicant’s own conduct. Such use of force diminished the first applicant’s human dignity and amounted to degrading treatment (seeBouyid, cited above, §§ 88 and 100). Moreover, the treatment in question took place in public in the presence of a large number of people and was reported in the media (see Svinarenko and Slyadnev v. Russia [GC], nos. 32541/08 and 43441/08, § 115, ECHR 2014 (extracts); Raninen v. Finland, 16 December 1997, § 55, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-VIII; and Erdoğan Yağız v. Turkey, no. 27473/02, § 37, 6 March 2007). 

49. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the first applicant.


56. Both applicants were taken to the police station for the purpose of drawing up an administrative-offence record in accordance with Article 27.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences, which provides for this possibility when the record cannot not be drawn up at the place where the offence was discovered. Even though the Government have not argued that ineach case that was impossible, the Court is ready to accept that in the context of the general commotion which was happening at Bolotnaya Square, the police could hardly draw up the records on the spot (see Frumkin v. Russia, no. 74568/12, § 148, 5 January 2016; contrast with Novikova and Others v. Russia, nos. 25501/07 and 4 others, §§ 182-83, 26 April 2016). 

57. The Court further notes that once the administrative-offence records had been drawn up, the objective of bringing the applicants to the police stations had been met and they could have been discharged. However, none of them was released on that day; both applicants were formally remanded in custody to secure their attendance at a hearing before the Justice of the Peace the next day. The Government argued that the term of the applicants’ detention had remained within the forty-eight-hour time-limit provided for by Article 27.5 of the Code of Administrative Offences. However, neither the Government nor the domestic authorities provided any justification as required by Article 27.3 of the Code, namely that it was an “exceptional case” or that it was “necessary for the prompt and proper examination of the administrative case and to secure the enforcement of any penalty to be imposed”. In the absence of any explicit reasons given by the authorities for not releasing the applicants, the Court considers that their administrative detention for approximately eighteen and twenty hours respectively was unjustified and arbitrary (see, for similar reasoning,Navalnyy and Yashin v. Russia, no. 76204/11, § 96, 4 December 2014). 

58. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention in respect of each of the applicants.


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