The Strasbourg Court said on its website that Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated in relation to ex-FSB Colonel Mikhail Trepashkin, who is currently serving his sentence at a penal colony in Nizhny Tagil, in the Sverdlovsk Region.
A military court in Moscow sentenced Trepashkin to four years in jail May 19, 2004. The court said that while serving with the KGB and later as an officer with its main successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB), from 1984 to 1997, Trepashkin made copies of internal documents and stored them at home.
In April 2005, another court ruled that Trepashkin was guilty of illegally keeping weapons, and extended the sentence to five years, but the charge was later dismissed.
Trepashkin's lawyer Yelena Liptzer said that the amount of compensation to her client was not relevant, but the decision itself was very important.
"What matters is that the [Strasbourg] court recognized the violation of his [Trepashkin] rights," Liptzer said.
"This decision is very important because any country would not want to be held responsible for violating a ban on torture," she said.
The court did not rule on the second claim related to illegal possession of arms because Trepashkin had been cleared of this charge and received 70,000 rubles ($2,750) compensation from the Russian state.