April 24, 2017
After the Russian annexation, few Crimean law professionals are eager to take on sensitive, politically charged cases. From Euroradio.
Three years after the March 2014 events, the Kremlin insists that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation. Kyiv’s official stance is that the Crimean peninsula is a temporarily occupied territory. Crimean activists, politicians, and citizens who oppose the annexation of Crimea have been tried for violating Russian law. The Russian organization Memorial considers them political prisoners or prisoners of conscience. Given the legal status of the peninsula, attorneys cannot prove they are not guilty or perform their professional duties in general without difficulty.
We meet lawyer Emil Kurbedinov next to his small office in the center of Crimea’s capital, Simferopol. We have to talk in the street, as his clients took all the free seats in his office. People come to him with different issues asking for help, but Kurbedinov prefers to defend those detained on political charges, such as those people who do not think that Crimea is Russian. As a result, the lawyer recently spent 10 days under administrative arrest. Policemen searched his office and seized documents containing classified judicial information. This happened because Kurbedinov dared to use his phone to film a search that took place in the office of one of his fellow citizens. Before that, the lawyer had received hints from “high-ranking people” that he should quit legal practice.
“From the very beginning we tried to shed light on all cases we considered politically motivated,” Kurbedinov explains. “We wanted people, both here and abroad, to see how trials took place, how the evidence was presented, and so on. That bothered very much those who held the trials, the prosecution.”
Among Kurbedinov’s clients are leaders of the Mejlis [the Crimean parliament outlawed by Russia as an “extremist” organization in 2016] who have been accused of calls to “violate the territorial integrity of Russia.”
April 13, 2017
38-year-old lawyer Yevgeny Rusakov, who represented the murderer of State Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova, was found shot in the village of Vyritsa, Gatchina District of the Leningrad Region. As reported by RIA Novosti, this information was confirmed by a representative of the regional Investigative Committee.
The lawyer’s body with a gunshot wound in the chin was discovered on April 10 in the apartment in a building on Sosnovaya Street in the village of Vyritsa, Gatchina District. The deceased was lying on the couch, and in his hand there was a pistol of the Czech brand PODNIK. An empty case was found near the body.
The investigators found that on April 9 Rusakov, while in a state of intoxication, caused an accident on a Lexus when he approached his house. After that, the lawyer left the scene and went home.
Yevgeny Rusakov was the defender of Vitaly Akishin accused of the murder of State Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova. In June 2005, Akishin was found guilty and sentenced to 23.5 years in prison.
Galina Starovoytova was killed in the entrance hall of her house in St. Petersburg on November 20, 1998. Yuri Kolchin and former State Duma deputy Mikhail Glushchenko were also convicted in the case.
le 22 mars, 2017
Nikolai Gorokhov est mystérieusement tombé de son balcon du quatrième étage, lors de l’emménagement dans son appartement près de Moscou. Il a été emmené d’urgence à l’hôpital où il a été placé en soins intensifs.et a dû être hospitalisé d’urgence. Il devait témoigner dans l’affaire de corruption, lié au décès de Sergei Magnitsky mort en détention provisoire en death in novembre 2009 à Moscou.
Il ne témoignera donc pas le 22 mars, à un procès à enjeu fort impliquant des proches du pouvoir russe.
Son employeur et ennemi personnel du président russe Vladimir Poutine, l’homme d’affaires britannique Bill Browder, a assuré dans un communiqué que Nikolai Gorokhov avait été poussé.
February 24, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the ongoing harassment of lawyer Bakhrom Khamroev in Russia.
Bakhrom Khamroev is a human rights lawyer and the head of Erdam, an organization that works to protect Central Asian migrant workers in Russia. He is known for representing persecuted Uzbekistani political refugees.
It has recently come to the Law Society’s attention that on September 29, 2016, 20 armed officers from the Federal Security Service (“FSB”) conducted an eight-hour raid on Bakhrom Khamroev’s home in Moscow, confiscating various documents and technical equipment. He was detained and taken to FSB headquarters where he was questioned about his political viewpoints and his knowledge of two Uzbekistanis who had been charged with terrorism for their alleged involvement in the Islamic political organization “Hizb ut-Tahrir”. He was told he was now a witness in the case against the two Uzbekistanis. Bakhrom Khamroev had previously represented these two individuals on a separate matter. He was later released, but warned that he would be summoned for further questioning.
According to reports, Bakhrom Khamroev has been targeted in the past for his human rights work. Prior to the abovementioned incident, he had been convicted and sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment on fabricated drug possession charges. He was later released on parole. Additionally, Bakhrom Khamroev has been attacked by both unknown assailants and FSB officers on five separate occasions. While criminal investigations were opened by the Russian authorities for some of the attacks, no suspects were ever identified or brought to justice.
February 8, 2017
Human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was released on 5 February in Simferopol, Crimea, having served 10 days in administrative detention to which he was sentenced as reprisal for his human rights work. Kurbedinov vowed to continue his work.
Crimean human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was arrested on 26 January and was immediately sentenced by the Zhelezhnodorozhny District Court in Simferopol to 10 days of administrative detention for purportedly violating Article 20.3 of the Russian Administrative Offences Code (propaganda and public display of Nazi and extremist symbols). The charge related to a social media post from 2013 in which Kurbedinov shared a video of the Muslim organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned under Russian legislation. The social media post predated the Russian occupation of Crimea. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a banned organisation under Ukrainian law and the video showed a peaceful assembly.
Emil Kurbedinov has been involved as a lawyer in numerous criminal cases against Crimean Tatars. The Crimean Tatar community has borne the brunt of the crackdown on freedoms and reprisals against all dissenting voices in Crimea after the Russian occupation in 2014. He has worked courageously to draw international attention to human rights violations in the peninsula. After his release, Kurbedinov vowed to continue working for the protection of human rights in Crimea and to continue to perform his professional duties as a lawyer. At the time of writing, Emil Kurbedinov is not facing additional charges, although he remains at risk of further reprisals and harassment by the de facto Crimean and the Russian authorities.
Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.
January 26, 2017
The violent attack against lawyers carrying out their professional duties and defending rights of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied peninsula has been expanding during last two days.
On 25 January, lawyer Nikolai Polozov was detained by FSB officers in Simferopol. It happened immediately after his arrival from the PACE session where he was reporting the facts of political persecution in Crimea. The FSB officers detained him for interrogation in the criminal case against Ilmi Umerov. Since Mr Polozov represents Mr Umerov in this case, he cannot provide witness testimony. Eventually, Mr Polozov was released in 2 and a half hours.
The next day morning, January the 26th, it became known about the abduction of lawyers Edem Semedlyaev and Emil Kurbedinov by representatives of the ‘Center for Combatting Extremism’ (‘Center E’) of the Ministry of internal affairs of the Russian Federation. The lawyers were heading to Bakhchysarai in order to provide legal assistance to the family of a civic activist, Mr Saliev, whose house was being searched since the early morning of that day. The lawyers’ car was stopped by traffic police (‘DPS’) referring to ‘a database check’. Subsequently, officials of “Center E” arrived and declared the ‘administrative detention’ of Emil Kurbedinov.
Emil Kurbedinov was brought to and detained in the premises of the ‘Center for Combatting Extremism’ (‘Center E’) in Simferopol. Later, he was taken to the ‘Zaliznychnii district court of Simferopol’ for an administrative case trial. According to the Kurbedinov’s legal representative, Dzhemil Temishev, Emil is being ‘charged’ with the distribution of ‘extremist materials’. Meanwhile, Russian law enforcement officers carried out unlawful searches in the legal offices of Mr Kurbedinov and Mr Semedlyayev and seized all their equipment, including all the storage devices and documents that are subject to legal advice privilege.
We are firmly convinced that such actions of the Russian security services are the response to their intense activities as human rights lawyers.
January 26, 2017
Today, the 26th of January, lawyer Emil Kurbedinov has been detained by Russian enforcers.
This was announced by lawyer Nicholay Polozov, previously detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) too.
“Lawyer Emile Kurbedinov has been just detained in Crimea. He is on the way to the FSB. The hunting season on lawyers has been officially opened on the peninsula,” wrote Polozov in Facebook.
As it became known, Kurbedinov and his colleague Eden Semedlyaev were detained by the FSB in Bakhchisarai in the moment they were travelling by car to the home of activist Seyran Saliev, searched by Russian enforcers this morning.
Later the enforcers searched the Kurbedinov’s office and house.
The detained lawyer was taken to the Counter Extremism Centre in Simferopol. He was accused of spreading extremist material.