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30.03.2017 The Moscow City Court found the musician Semyon Lashkin innocent on the administrative charge of organizing a mass gathering of citizens

On March 27, 2017 the lawyers of the Institute for Law and Public Policy received an official copy of the Resolution of the Deputy Chairman of the Moscow City Court which overturned the judgments of the lower courts according to which the cellist Semyon Lashkin was found guilty of the administrative violation set forth in part 1 Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. This provision establishes administrative penalty for organization of mass gathering and (or) movement of citizens in public places resulting in violation of public order.

Earlier, Semyon Lashkin was found guilty of committing this administrative offence in the Tverskoi District Court Judgment of July, 1 2016 and in the Moscow City Court Judgment of September 20, 2016. The initial ground for legal proceedings was his music performance on Nikolskaya street on June 20, 2016. The Tverskoy District Court Judgment imposed a 10,000-rubles fine on the musician.

Semyon’s advocate Maria Sernovets and the lawyers of the Institute for Law and Public Policy defended his administrative violation case. On November 29, 2016 they lodged an appeal with the Moscow City Court challenging the judicial acts passed on the administrative violation case (the full text of the appeal in Russian can be found here). The lawyers elaborated an argumentation, according to which the actions of Semyon Lashkin did not constitute an administrative offence, based on the legal stance of the Constitutional Court regarding Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (see Decision No. 1721-O of October 24, 2013).

The court fully agreed with the lawyers’ reasoning. It should be noted that the Moscow City Court observed that, firstly, the lower courts found that the case materials contained no proof as to the fact that the musician had aimed at organizing a mass gathering of citizens in a public place. There was also no proof of the fact that Semyon Lashkin assumed organizational or administrative functions with regard to this event. Secondly, the Court found that a gathering of 10 citizens in a public place does not in itself constitute violation of public order in the meaning of Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (it does not prevent the passage of pedestrians or limit their access to social infrastructure facilities, etc.).

In fact, the Moscow City Court recognized that the provision of Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation is not applicable to street musicians, photographers, artists, dancers, worshipers, etc. (see the Review of cases under Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation applied by Moscow courts).

The defenders of Semyon Lashkin intend to apply for reimbursement of the illegally imposed fine.

The Institute for Law and Public Policy reminds that the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation does not contain a limitation period for challenging final judgments on administrative cases. This means that citizens who have been illegally prosecuted under Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation may appeal the respective judgments at Moscow City Court. The text of the supervisory appeal on the Case of Semyon Lashkin may be used to this end, with necessary amendments according to the circumstances of the case.

 

The text of the supervisory appeal in Russian

The text of the Resolution No. 4а-7686/16 by the Deputy Chairman of the Moscow City Court of February 20, 2017 

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