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Old October 28th 05, 02:34 AM
Tyrone Slothrop
 
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Default Kasparov Files in Strasbourg

Kasparov Files in Strasbourg

By Jan Sliva
The Associated Press

STRASBOURG, France -- Former chess world champion Garry Kasparov on
Thursday filed a case against the Russian government at the European
Court of Human Rights over alleged irregularities during State Duma
elections in 2003.

Kasparov lodged the case on behalf of six individual plaintiffs and a
rare alliance of the Communist Party and the liberal Yabloko party,
which seek to invalidate the results of the elections, arguing they had
been skewed by media bias in favor of United Russia.

Russian courts rejected a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Yabloko
and the Communists that claimed state-controlled television stations
gave blanket positive coverage to United Russia while ignoring or
ridiculing its opponents.

Kasparov, who is now an opposition leader, argued that the Russian
court's decision was politically motivated and breached Article 6 of
the European Convention on Human Rights, which grants European citizens
the right to a fair trial. The convention is legally binding on all 46
members of the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog that Russia
joined in 1996.

Kasparov also said the Russian government breached articles of the
treaty relating to the right to free and fair elections, freedom of
expression and prohibition of discrimination.

The court will now examine whether the case is admissible, court
spokeswoman Stephanie Klein said.

Kasparov's lawyers said they had asked for a speedy review of the
complaint.

"People in Russia do not believe courts. For them, Strasbourg is often
the only hope. They hope that somewhere out there is an institution
that will help them," Kasparov told reporters.

Kasparov said he feared more irregularities in the 2008 presidential
election and expressed concern that President Vladimir Putin would seek
to amend the Constitution to seek a third term. Putin is
constitutionally barred from running. He has repeatedly said he would
not seek a third term.

"We're expecting Putin to find a way -- with the support of parliament
-- to extend his mandate. In the next few months, we expect drastic
changes in Russian politics," Kasparov said.

He said lawsuit at the human rights court is designed to "boost the
confidence of all people who support democracy in Russia."

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