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Russia Ordered to Pay 10 Million Euros to Georgians It Harassed

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia put in place an “administrative practice” of harassment in the autumn of 2006 that violated at least six articles of the European Human Rights convention. The measures included collective expulsion, unlawful deprivation of liberty, and inhuman and degrading detention, according to a decision released on Thursday.

The expulsions took place amid spiraling tensions between Russia and Georgia’s then President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was tilting his country away from Moscow and toward closer ties with the West after coming to power in the 2003 “Rose Revolution.” After Georgia briefly arrested then released four Russian military officers accused of spying, Russia cut all transport links to its former Soviet satellite. Police in Moscow also raided businesses and detained hundreds of Georgians for alleged immigration offenses.

The court in Strasbourg, France, ruled that at least 1,500 Georgian victims should be paid between 2,000 and 15,000 euros each, depending on the rights violations in their specific cases. It’s up to the Georgian government to implement a mechanism for distributing the sums to the victims, it said.

The verdict “underlines how unlawful the Russian actions are,” Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Georgia’s minister for reconciliation and civil equality, told reporters in Tbilisi on Thursday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.