Holed up Russian family file lawsuit with Strasbourg court

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A woman and her son, who have barricaded themselves inside their apartment over a property dispute, submitted a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights, their lawyer said

NOVOSIBIRSK, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - A woman and her son, who have barricaded themselves inside their apartment over a property dispute, submitted a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights on Monday, their lawyer said.

Yelena Lavrichenko and her son Andrei locked themselves in their apartment last Tuesday after a court in the West Siberian city of Novosibirsk ordered their five-room flat be converted into two premises.

The apartment was the property of Yelena's late husband Yevgeny, who bought two flats in 2000, one in his and the other in his brother's name. The two apartments were later converted into a single space.

Yevgeny died shortly after the conversion, leaving the apartment to his wife and son. However, his brother Sergei lodged an appeal with a local court demanding his half of the flat be returned to him.

Following years of legal wrangling, a Novosibirsk court ruled the apartment be returned to Sergei. When workers arrived to build a dividing wall to convert the flat into two apartments once again, Yelena refused to leave and barricaded herself in her half with her son.

The family is currently living in an area with a toilet but without a kitchen or entrance door. They are relying on relatives to provide them with food.

Yelena's lawyer Igor Smirnov said his client had no plans to cause any damage to the walls and break through to make a door.

"This is a principal issue. If the ruling goes in favor of the complainant, the court should order costs be paid for the renovation work in the flat and restoration of an entrance. This should not be carried out by the flat's legal owners," he said.

"We have requested the Strasbourg court to consider the case in a fast-track regime as this concerns people's health and lives," Smirnov said.

 

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