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Cheprunovy and others v. Russia, Nos. 74320/10 and others, ECtHR (Third Section), 22 February 2022

Type Judgment
Case number 74320/10 and others


Searches in the flats of Jehovah's Witnesses and in the prayer room owned by a local religious organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses with seizure of related religious literature considered extremist

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR


1. The national courts did not carry out a balancing exercise or examine whether there have been relevant and sufficient reasons for the interference, whether the interference with the applicants’ rights had answered a pressing social need and was proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued.

2. The Court also finds that the terms of the search warrants were excessively broad and that they gave the police unrestricted discretion in determining which items were relevant for the investigation (...) This resulted in an extensive search and the seizure of religious literature, including titles which had not been declared extremist.

3. Considering that the searches were carried out without relevant and sufficient grounds and in the absence of safeguards that would confine their impact to reasonable bounds, the Court concludes that the interference with the applicants’ rights was not “necessary in a democratic society”.