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Gallery owner Gelman files complaint with European Court of Human Rights in Yakemenko case

25 February 2012

Source: Open Information Agency 

Marat Gelman has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in protest against a decision by the Russian courts ordering him to pay 100,000 roubles to the former head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Vasily Yakemenko for statements he made on the Internet which said that the official had ordered the beating up of journalist Oleg Kashin. 

This news was reported by the Agora Human Rights Association, which is representing Marat Gelman in the Strasbourg court.

Gelman believes that Russia violated his rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority (Article 6 and Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), reports a correspondent for the Open Information Agency.

On 28 February 2012 Moscow's Savelovsky district court ordered Gelman to publish on his Twitter and LiveJournal accounts a retraction of his claim that Yakemenko had ordered the beating up of journalist Oleg Kashin. The court also ordered the gallery owner and art collector to pay the then head of the Federal Youth Agency 100,000 roubles. On 28 August 2012 the decision was upheld by the Moscow City Court Collegium for Civil Cases.

Legal analysts for the Agora Association point out that as part of this case four different experts have stated that this was Gelman's opinion, for which, according to the law, he cannot be brought to justice.

Previously, the head of the Department of Experimental Lexicography at the Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Philology, Professor Anatoly Baranov concluded that "the fragments at the centre of the dispute contain no allegations that Yakemenko committed any dishonest, offensive acts, that there was any improper, unethical behaviour on his part, or that he violated existing legislation or ethical standards in his private or public life, or professional activities."

"In the disputed fragments that contain negative information about Yakemenko there are no verbal forms (words or phrases) with offensive meanings or offensive emotional overtones," Professor Baranov wrote in the conclusion of his analysis. 

The expert classified all the statements made by Marat Gelman as his own opinions, assumptions combined with opinions and statements of opinion. 

On 21 June 2012 the Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow rejected a similar case, in which Vasily Yakemenko had filed claims against Oleg Kashin, journalist Aleksandr Morozov and the Novye Izvestiya newspaper.