Case No. 29492/05

Judgment date: 26/02/09

The applicant held judicial office at the Moscow City Court (MCC) and was appointed to sit on a high-profile case concerning abuse of powers by a police investigator, Mr Zaytsev. The public prosecutor made a number of challenges regarding the conduct of proceedings, including a challenge on the grounds of bias against both the applicant as judge and the lay assessors sitting in the case. The applicant was summoned to the office of the MCC President, and questioned about her conduct of the trial, then subsequently removed from the case. Some months later the applicant submitted her candidature in the general elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation and was granted a suspension of her judicial functions pending the elections. During this election campaign she made statements to the media criticising the Russian judicial system in general and the conduct of the Zaytsev case in particular. She also lodged a complaint against the Presi- dent of the MCC for exerting unlawful pressure on her during the Zaytsev case. The applicant was not elected and was reinstated in her judicial functions however she was made the subject of disciplinary investigation in respect of comments made by her during the election campaign. She was subsequently dismissed from office by the Judiciary Qualification Board of Moscow on the basis inter alia that she had made false statements about the judiciary, which would undermine public confidence in the judiciary. The applicant claimed this treatment breached her Art. 10 (freedom of expression) rights.

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