ECHR has been asked to clarify whether the German flag over the FSB building is an offense

For hanging the flag over the garage of the security services a Kaliningrad activist has been convicted.
Civil society activist from Kaliningrad Michael Feldman, sentenced to one year and two months, complained to the European Court of Human Rights in prison for hanging German flag over the FSB garage in March 2014 (ECHR) on political persecution. This was reported by attorney Irina Khrunova, representing the applicant's interests in the European Court. Her client proves that the demonstration flag existing foreign state with which Russia is in diplomatic relations can not offend patriotic citizens, who besides this flag is not even seen (for activists under surveillance, they were detained immediately after attempting to hang a flag ). Feldman said that he was convicted for expressing their opinion, his actions did not represent a public danger and did not contain abusive attacks, he just made a criticism of Russian foreign policy with regard to Ukraine (at that time was actively discussed the upcoming referendum on joining the Crimea to Russia).

In June last year, the Central Court of Kaliningrad decided that Feldman Oleg Sawin and Dmitry Fonarev "Sauveurhooliganism or group of persons by prior conspiracy motivated by political hatred and hostility and by hatred against a particular social group "(Part 2, Article 213 of the Criminal Code..): according to the investigation, hanging flag accompanied by shouting Nazi slogans and gestures reminiscent Nazi salute. In addition, in a backpack at Feldman during the arrest found hexogen.

The defendants did not deny that the flag hoisted on the building of a garage - in their words, the action symbolized the illegality of the actions of Russia in the Crimea. However, Nazi slogans, claims in his complaint Feldman, were an invention of the investigation (as a Jew by birth, he is not a supporter of nationalist ideology). He also argues that the RDX was planted in a backpack, and the court did not examine critically evidence and witnesses to refute the conclusions of the investigation. Thus, sending the activist behind bars for hanging the flag, the authorities pursued a different goal - to restrict its right to express the views of the civil and political, not inadvertently unspoken him observation was conducted for Multiplayernly days before committing to action. So it is not only the right to freedom of expression had been violated in his case, but also the right to a fair trial. Feldman also argues that article 213 of the Criminal Code, for which he was convicted, is formulated and interpreted by the Russian courts too widely and that makes it suitable for the pursuit of a legitimate protest. The complaint Feldman his defense put pictures of different places of Kaliningrad, where the German flag hangs completely free - for example, near the offices of German companies, says Khrunova. She noted that this is not the first time that another demonstration of the flag State is qualified by the Russian authorities as a criminal offense. "ECHR may speak on the subject, explaining how in a democratic society, citizens have the right to use the national flag, including a foreign state", - she hopes.

Prospects in the case of the ECHR are not obvious, says lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky. Feldman's actions really can not be qualified as hooliganism, as they did not grubogo disturbance of public order. The complaint may be accepted to the extent where it is a violation of the right to a fair trial. However, the political context of the action is not as indisputable - and most importantly, it did not pursue any defense of democratic values, adds the lawyer.