Ernest Mezak: The humiliated and the victorious
Photo of Ernest Mezak via Front Line Defenders

13 July 2021

By Ernest Mezak

Source: Facebook

Yesterday the Investigative Committee’s Syktyvkar Investigative Department formally accused me of disrespect for the Syktyvkar City Court, which it arbitrarily and baselessly saw in two posts on VK and Instagram (details with links to the “offending” publications can be found on the Mediazona site). 

And today Aleksei Laptev, the Moscow lawyer and German Doctor of Laws defending me in the criminal case,  and I yet again brought disgrace upon the Komi court system at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).  There we won the case of two Sosnogorsk residents, the Armenian citizen Mkrtich Khachatryan (pictured left in a 2010 photo with his son) and his Russian wife Yelizaveta Konovalova.  

In long-ago 2013, when Aleksei still worked as a lawyer in the secretariat of the ECtHR, the Federal Migration Service revoked our Armenian defendant’s residence permit (more specifically, a three-year permit for temporary residence, but English isn’t capable of conveying such nuances) for minor violations of migration rules.  The local human rights defender Tamara Makarova  and I helped him appeal this decision in the Sosnogorsk City Court and in the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic as a violation of his right, guaranteed to the residents of Russia by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to respect for his family life.

In the Komi courts my defendants didn’t obtain justice, for which the ECtHR, by a vote of 6 to 1 today, yet again thrashed the Russian authorities (in Khachatryan and Konovalova v. Russia).  For the year-long destabilization of their family life, Mkrtich and Yelizaveta will receive compensation from the Russian authorities in the amount of EUR 2,000,  and the treasury will pay another EUR 2,200 for the work Aleksei and I performed.  This sentence from the recent Strasbourg decision, of course, gives special delight: “The Court finds that the proceedings in which the decisions to refuse to renew the first applicant’s residence permit were taken and upheld on appeal fell short of the Convention requirements.”  Yes, the Russian authorities will pay EUR 4,200 solely because the Komi judges were unwilling to assess the disputed decision by the migration bureaucrats in the light of the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

It probably is worth adding that all our good for nothing fellow citizens (V.B. Krasnov from the city court, N.E. Belov, V. L. Golovkov, and A.A. Golikov from the appeals court), who didn’t give a damn in 2013 about the family life of the Sosnogorsk couple rather than defend it, are now retired and receive a high state pension at taxpayer cost. 

I hope that the ECtHR won’t be so slow in examining the future complaint of Aleksei Laptev regarding my baseless criminal prosecution under Article 297, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code.  And that everyone who energetically took part in this persecution will be disgraced in Strasbourg before they go into retirement. 

NB For more information about the case of Ernest Mezak, see the websites of Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders – ed.

Translation by Rights in Russia

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