European Court Says Russia Violated Rights Of Bolotnaya Protesters

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia violated the rights of three men who were jailed in connection with a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration to his current term.

In a decision issued on January 30, the ECHR found that Russian authorities violated the rights of Andrei Barabanov, Aleksei Polikhovich, and Stepan Zimin during their detainment and prosecution over the protest on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012.

The court ordered Russia to pay Polikhovich and Zimin 12,500 euros ($15,500) each, and Barabanov 10,000 euros ($12,400).

The decisions supported the activists' claims that the authorities violated articles of the European Convention on Human Rights including a ban on torture, the right to liberty and security, and freedom of assembly and association.

More than 400 people were detained after clashes erupted at the 2012 protest. Police and protesters blame each another for the violence.

The rally was one of a series of large opposition protests sparked mainly by anger over evidence of widespread fraud in the December 2011 parliamentary elections and dismay at Putin's decision to return to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister.

More than 30 people were prosecuted in connection with the clashes, and more than 20 were sentenced to prison or served time in pretrial custody.