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European Court: Russia Violated Rights of Businessman

Europe's top human rights court has ruled that Russian authorities violated the rights of a tycoon when they detained him in 2000 on charges he ordered the murder of a former business partner.

In the ruling Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights agreed that in detaining aluminum tycoon Anatoly Bykov for nearly two years ahead of trial, Russian authorities violated his right to liberty and security. The court in Strasbourg said Russian courts did not "substantiate" their grounds for refusing to release him.

The human rights court also ruled that police violated Bykov's right to "respect for his private life" by using surveillance equipment against him without "adequate" safeguards against possible abuses. But it rejected Bykov's claim that Russian authorities had breached his right to a fair trial.

It awarded him about $33,000 in compensation - nearly $32,000 of it for legal fees.

A Russian court convicted Bykov in 2002 on charges of plotting the murder of Vilor Struganov, an alleged crime boss who was Bykov's former business partner. Bykov received a six-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.

Bykov headed the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant in Siberia before his arrest in October 2000. He was also a member of the Krasnoyarsk regional legislature and an executive of the Krasenergomash-Holding corporation.

In 2003, Bykov was found guilty of a 1996 plot to murder another person, businessman Oleg Gubin. He was sentenced to one year in prison but released under a national amnesty program.