The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a claim lodged by Russian nationals convicted as part of “police provocation” and ordered Russia to pay damages, according to a ruling posted on the ECHR website on Tuesday.
It is the first complaint against the police in Russia that the court has ruled on out of 150 it is examining.
In the case of Veselov and Others v. Russia, the applicants - Viktor Veselov, Maksim Zolotukhin and Igor Druzhinin - each alleged that they had been convicted of drug offences incited by the police in violation of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The applicants were each targeted in undercover operations conducted by the police in the form of a "test purchase" of drugs. These operations led to their criminal conviction for drug dealing.
The applicants complained that they had been unfairly convicted of drug offences incited by the police and that their plea of entrapment had not been properly examined in the domestic proceedings, in violation of Article 6 of the Convention.
The applicants claimed that the test purchases conducted in their cases did not pursue the purpose of investigating criminal offences because the police had had no good reason to suspect them of wishing to sell drugs.
The applicants considered that the whole criminal proceedings in their cases were based on entrapment and concerned offences that would never have been committed were it not for the police incitement.
Having examined the documents referred to by the applicants, the ECHR found that the court records and the points of appeal contain sufficiently clear and specific allegations that the offences at issue were the result of police incitement.
The court ordered Russia to pay the applicants three thousand euros each, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage.