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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kasparov Files in Strasbourg

STRASBOURG, France -- Former chess world champion Garry Kasparov on Thursday filed a case against the Russian government at the European Court of Human Rights over alleged irregularities during State Duma elections in 2003.

Kasparov lodged the case on behalf of six individual plaintiffs and a rare alliance of the Communist Party and the liberal Yabloko party, which seek to invalidate the results of the elections, arguing they had been skewed by media bias in favor of United Russia.

Russian courts rejected a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Yabloko and the Communists that claimed state-controlled television stations gave blanket positive coverage to United Russia while ignoring or ridiculing its opponents.

Kasparov, who is now an opposition leader, argued that the Russian court's decision was politically motivated and breached Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which grants European citizens the right to a fair trial. The convention is legally binding on all 46 members of the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog that Russia joined in 1996.

Kasparov also said the Russian government breached articles of the treaty relating to the right to free and fair elections, freedom of expression and prohibition of discrimination.

The court will now examine whether the case is admissible, court spokeswoman Stephanie Klein said.

Kasparov's lawyers said they had asked for a speedy review of the complaint.

"People in Russia do not believe courts. For them, Strasbourg is often the only hope. They hope that somewhere out there is an institution that will help them," Kasparov told reporters.

Kasparov said he feared more irregularities in the 2008 presidential election and expressed concern that President Vladimir Putin would seek to amend the Constitution to seek a third term. Putin is constitutionally barred from running. He has repeatedly said he would not seek a third term.

"We're expecting Putin to find a way -- with the support of parliament -- to extend his mandate. In the next few months, we expect drastic changes in Russian politics," Kasparov said.

He said lawsuit at the human rights court is designed to "boost the confidence of all people who support democracy in Russia."