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ECHR Rules Against Russia for Detaining Kasparov Before 2007 Rally

FILE - Former world chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov speaks to the media after walking out of a court building in Moscow, Aug. 24, 2012.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against Russia for detaining former chess champion and political activist Garry Kasparov before a 2007 opposition political rally.

The “deprivation of his liberty was found not to be justified for any lawful purpose," the court said Tuesday.

The court found “there was no evidence that any forgery had taken place, let alone that the authorities had had a reasonable suspicion that he had committed that offense."

"Given that his detention had not been lawful or justified, the Court held he had been unlawfully prevented from attending the rally."

On May 18, 2007, Kasparov was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, before a flight to Samara in western Russia, where he was to attend a rally at an EU-Russian summit.

Russian authorities confiscated his ticket and passport and took him to a police station for five hours of questioning on whether his ticket had been forged. Kasparov was not allowed to leave the police office where an armed guard stood at the door. He missed the flight and the rally as a result.

The Russian government had argued police were carrying out an operation against counterfeit airplane tickets that day and confiscated the tickets of 22 people, including Kasparov’s.

Before filing the law suit at the Strasbourg-based ECHR in November that year, Kasparov had unsuccessfully sought legal redress in Russia’s court system in 2007.

Tuesday’s decision is subject to the right of appeal to the ECHR's top panel, the Grand Chamber, within the next three months.