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European court orders Russia to pay compensation to journalist

VORONEZH, October 29 (RIA Novosti) - The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay 1,000 euros (some $1,300) in compensation to a Russian journalist over the violation of his right to self-expression.

In 2001, an article by journalist Gennady Godlevsky published in the local Orlovsky Meridian newspaper in central European Russia's Oryol Region alleged that the local drug control department was involved in the illegal drug trade, accusing them of having "no principles."

The drug control department said in response that Godlevsky's article discredited its officers and sued the newspaper. A local court ruled in favor of the drug control service and ordered the newspaper to pay 65,000 rubles ($2,400) in compensation.

However, criminal cases were later launched against several drug control officers on charges similar to those described in Godlevsky's article.

Godlevsky unsuccessfully appealed the court's verdict before turning to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Russia has lost the majority of cases brought against it in the Strasbourg court. In 2007, the court ruled against Russia 192 times and in its favor only six times.

The European Court of Human Rights has received a total of 46,700 cases against Russia over the past ten years, comprising 20% of all complaints received.

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