Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny awaits his hearing at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Nov.15, 2018. Russia is awaiting the European court ruling on whether it violated the rights of Navalny when arresting him on rep
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny awaits his hearing at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Nov.15, 2018. Russia is awaiting the European court ruling on whether it violated the rights of Navalny when arresting him on rep

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russian authorities violated the rights of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny by holding him under house arrest in 2014.

Navalny was placed under house arrest in February 2014 and confined to his home for several months while he was being investigated on suspicion of embezzlement in the so-called Yves Rocher case, which he and supporters say was politically motivated.

"The restrictions on him, including tight limits on his communicating, [were] out of proportion to the criminal charges he had faced," the ECHR said in a statement after its ruling on April 9.

The ECHR ruled that Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

"It was also apparent that he had been treated in that way in order to curtail his public activities," the ECHR added.

Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted in December 2014 by a Russian court on charges of embezzling 30 million rubles - then worth about $442,000 - from the Russian branch of Yves Rocher and another firm.

But the Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled in October 2017 that the Russian courts violated the brothers’ right to a fair trial in the case.

That ECHR ruling initially held that their convictions in the Yves Rocher case fell outside the definition of fraud.

When Russia appealed that decision, the ECHR reconsidered the case and in November 2018 expanded its ruling against Russian authorities.

It found that Russia violated Navalny’s rights over numerous arrests and detentions from 2012 to 2014, calling them "unlawful and arbitrary" and "politically motivated.”

Navalny is one of President Vladimir Putin’s main political opponents.

(Information for this report also came from AFP and Reuters)