On March 15, the Syktyvkar Town Court fined human rights advocate Ernest Mezak for 17 thousand rubles for his participation in an unagreed rally in support of Alexei Navalny. At the time of the hearing, Mezak was already serving an arrest for non-compliance with the lawful demands of a police officer. His lawyer Vladislav Kosnyrev reported the court’s ruling to 7x7.
On March 10, the court arrested Ernest Mezak for 12 days for non-compliance with the demands of a police officer at an unagreed rally in support of politician Alexei Navalny on January 31. The human rights advocate was detained at the Syktyvkar airport. He planned to attend a meeting of the Moscow City Court in the case of Marina Litvinovich, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC).
On March 15, the Syktyvkar Town Court fined Mezak for 17 thousand rubles for the violation of conducting a public event under Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. The correspondent of 7x7 reported that on January 31, the police forced the human rights advocate into a car and hit him several times on the leg.
Lawyer Vladislav Kosnyrev told 7x7 that before the meeting on March 15, Mezak had been handcuffed in a detention room, but he had refused to go to court like that.
"He said, 'Either I go to court without handcuffs, or you carry me in your arms.' They chose the latter. As a result, the police dragged him in handcuffs by his feet across the floor to the courtroom," Kosnyrev said.
The defense counsel added he would appeal the fine.
Ernest Mezak is a well-known human rights advocate in the Komi Republic and Russia, a former lawyer of the Public Verdict* Human Rights Foundation. In 2012, he won the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for human rights protection in the category "For defending human rights in the courts". The human rights advocate has successfully insisted that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had declared the prohibition for activists to hold rallies in Stefanovskaya Square in Syktyvkar to be a violation of the right to freedom of assembly. Mezak has secured pilot judgements on the "inhumane conditions" of transporting prisoners.