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Right of disabled to fair trial restored

02 February 2016

On 15 January, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation granted a petition of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, having restored the right of a category I disabled person, Mr D., to a fair trial. The administrative offence case of Mr D. was closed and previous judgements were overruled, the official reply of the Supreme Court to the High Commissioner’s petition says.

In 2015, a pensioner, Mr D., petitioned the High Commissioner to assist in cancelling of the judgement passed by the justice of the peace of Judicial District No. 119 and a judge of the Moskovskiy District Court in Saint Petersburg, according to which he was found guilty in a failure to declare a cash amount in a foreign currency for a customs clearance, and was fined 70,000 RUB (around 900 US Dollars as of January 2016).

Mr D. claimed to be a sight-disabled person having a type I diabetes and a musculoskeletal disease. He alleged that in July 2013, on his way back to Saint Petersburg from China, he had an amount of foreign currency to be declared at the customs. Feeling sick after the long flight and having failed to find customs officers on duty in the red channel of Pulkovo Airport, he asked the officers in the green channel for a help in filling in the required declaration. However, he was told that when having failed to declare his cash when passing through the customs, he had violated the law, and the problem could be solved "for remuneration". Having been refused to solve the problem that way, the officers drew up a report on an administrative offence by the pensioner.

On 11 November 2013, the justice of the peace of Judicial District No. 125 ruled to decline to institute any proceedings for the lack of evidence that Mr D. had committed a crime. However, the judgement was challenged by the Chief of the Pulkovo Customs in the Moskovskiy District Court which overruled it and the case was submitted to the justice of the peace of Judicial District No. 119 for a review. On 26 June 2014 Mr D. was found guilty. On 10 October 2014 the Moskovskiy District Court of Saint Petersburg dismissed the appeal of Mr D.

Following the petition of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia to the Chairman of the Saint Petersburg City Court, in June 2015 the judgements being appealed against were upheld, and the High Commissioner’s petition dismissed.

The justice was restored only after the petition to the supreme judicial body. The Supreme Court found multiple violations of the proceedings. The illegal judgments were overruled and the judicial proceedings against Mr D. were terminated.

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