Law of the Week: Article 212, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal code – ‘Organisation of riots.’

Week-ending 9 October 2020

On 9 October 2020 a Moscow court dismissed an appeal by Sergei Udaltsov against administrative supervision, which includes a ban to attend rallies, imposed on him in 2018 after his release from prison with effect until 2021. In 2014 Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev were sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment on the charge of ‘organising riots’ on 6 May 2012 on Bolotnaya Square under Article 212, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Article 212, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code

1. Organisation of riots [‘mass disturbances’] accompanied by violence, pogroms, arson, destruction of property, use of weapons, explosve devices, explosives, poisonous or other substances and items dangerous to those nearby, as well as armed resistance to a public official and also preparation of a person to organise or participate in riots –

is punishable by imprisonment for a term ranging from eight to fifteen years.

See the text of the law in Russian here.

RAPSI, Friday, 9 October 2020: Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by opposition figure Sergey Udaltsov seeking lifting of an administrative supervision including a ban to attend rallies until 2021 imposed on him, RAPSI learnt from the court. In September 2018, the city’s Simonovsky District Court ordered Udaltsov to be subject to administrative supervision until August 2021 when his criminal record is to be canceled. The opposition activist was ordered to visit police twice a month, banned from attending mass rallies, demonstrations and other public events and leaving Moscow Region.  Later, he filed a complaint against this decision with the European Court of Human Rights. In 2014, organizers of mass riots in Moscow [in 2012] Leonid Razvozzhayev and Udaltsov were sentenced to 4.5 years in prison each based partly on testimony by Konstantin Lebedev, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison but released on parole.

On 19 February 2020 in Razvozzhayev v. Russia and Ukraine and Udaltsov v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights ruled with regard to Sergei Udaltsov that there had been violations by Russia of: Article 5 § 3 of the Convention; Article 6 § 1 of the Convention; Article 11 of the Convention; Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention; and that the Russian government pay the applicant EUR 9,000, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant on this amount.

On 6 October 2020 the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling in the case of Udaltsov v. Russia regarding a series of administrative arrests and other matters to which Udalstov was subject:

Art 5 § 1 • Lawful arrest or detention • Arbitrary administrative detention after charge of disobeying a lawful order by police • Lack of clarity on factual and legal elements underlying the charge • No adequate opportunity for applicant to benefit from legal assistance during trial • Domestic court’s superficial assessment of applicant’s alibi • Retention in hospital under guard of law-enforcement officers after expiry of applicant’s term of detention without justification • Deprivation of liberty with no legitimate purpose

Art 6 § 1 (criminal) and 6 § 3 (b)+(c) • Fair hearing • Adequate time and facilities • Applicant’s  lawyer notified of ongoing proceedings half an hour before hearing • Charge involving certain complexity • Applicant accused of an offence punishable by detention and under arrest at the relevant time • No reasonable opportunity to put forward a viable defence

Art 18 (+ 5 § 1) • Detention allegedly aimed at intimidating applicant and impeding his civic and political activities • Submitted arguments essentially the same as those under Article 5 • Article 18 not a fundamental aspect of the case

  1. A violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention on account of the administrative detention under the judgment of 4 December 2011;
  2. A violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention as regards the applicant’s presence in the hospital on 9 and 10 December 2011;
  3. A violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention on account of the administrative detention under the judgment of 10 December 2011;
  4. A violation of Article 6 of the Convention as regards the judgment of 4 December 2011 as upheld on 5 December 2011.
  5. The respondent State is to pay the applicant EUR 12,800, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

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