Navalny lodges appeal against law on demonstrations with Constitutional Court

11 January 2013 

Source: (info)
Аleksei Navalny has lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the new law on public assembly. He is calling for the Court to find the new law unconstitutional on the grounds of its ‘excessively vague’ provisions, that in practice allow any participant in a street demonstration that has been given official permission to be prosecuted, reports, citing the newspaper Kommersant.

Navalny’s arrest while he was picketing the FSB headquarters in 2012 serves as the basis for the appeal. At that time the opposition leader was surrounded by media representatives, as a result of which he was accused of organizing a march without official permission and fined 30,000 roubles. "In practice, even a participant in a lawful demonstration could be fined if after the end of the demonstration,” Navalny’s lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliev explained, “they set off towards the metro station together with other participants, without doing anything unlawful.” Moreover, the opposition leader decided to lodge a complaint against the sizeof the fines imposed, which in his view were disproportionately large.

Aleksei Navalny’s complaint was registered by the Constitutional Court on 9 January and is at the stage of initial examination, which by law may take up to two months.

In June 2012 the members of the State Duma passed amendments to the law on street demonstrations. According to the amendments, a violation of the regulations for rallies leads to fines of up to 300,000 roubles for individuals and up to 1m roubles for legal persons.

In connection with the passing of a new by-law in December 2012, Moscow city duma introduced amendments to the city’s regulations on street demonstrations. In Moscow it is now forbidden to hold car rallies on the Garden Ring, and the distance between single-person pickets must be at least 50 metres.