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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Reopens National Bolshevik Case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the reopening of an investigation into a previously convicted opposition activist, following a European Court of Human Rights ruling last year that he was imprisoned unlawfully.

Roman Popkov, who led the Moscow branch of the banned National Bolshevik party, was also awarded 5,000 euros ($7,500) after the European court ruled that his pretrial detention of more than two years was illegal.

Dmitry Agranovsky, a lawyer representing Popkov, told The Moscow Times that the Supreme Court overruled earlier decisions by Moscow’s Tagansky and Tverskoi district courts to incarcerate Popkov during the investigation.

The Supreme Court’s chairman, Vyacheslav Lebedev, ordered that Popkov’s case be reopened because of newly obtained evidence, Agranovsky said.

Spokespeople for the Supreme Court were not available for comment.

In April 2006, Popkov and several other National Bolsheviks were arrested after a fight with members of Mestniye, a pro-Kremlin youth group. Popkov spent more than two years in pretrial detention before being sentenced to two years and three months in prison for hooliganism, Agranovsky said.

The sentence included Popkov’s time in pretrial detention. No one from Mestniye was charged in connection with the brawl.

While the Supreme Court formally has the right to order retrials, Agranovsky said such rulings were all but unheard of. The Supreme Court’s decision was a rare move, intended to help the country’s much-maligned justice system escape additional accusations of being inhumane, said Yevgeny Khramtsov, a lawyer who has defended National Bolshevik members in court.