Tag Archives: Russia

Ukraine/Kazakhstan/Russia/Moldova: Defence for the defenders: Lawyers and attorneys under attack for participation in politically motivated cases

June 29, 2018

The right to defence is one of the fundamental human rights that is enshrined in a number of international agreements. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the principle of equality of all before the law, the presumption of innocence, and the right to be examined openly and with all the requirements of justice by an independent and impartial court.

In order to exercise their right to defence, prosecuted persons must have full access to legal services provided by independent lawyers and attorneys. According to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, everyone has the right to ask any lawyer for help in defending their rights and protecting them at all stages of criminal proceedings.

According to the opinion of the European Court of Human Rightslawyers play a key role in maintaining public confidence in the judicial system and act as intermediaries between the public and courts. Thus, they are an important element of the rule of law.

As noted in paragraph 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions in an environment free from intimidation and improper interference. Also, lawyers shall not be prosecuted or sanctioned for any acts committed as part of their professional duties.

Unfortunately, in countries where democratic institutions are poorly developed and the rule of law does not work, lawyers and attorneys often become victims of persecution as well as various kinds of pressure and restrictions. This especially concerns those who participate in politically motivated cases.

Lawyers and attorneys are attacked both by state institutions and authorities and by various criminals, against which the state is unable to protect them. This prosecution also involves professional associations that proclaim their aim to protect the rights and interests of lawyers, but are not independent of state bodies.

At the moment, there are no effective mechanisms for monitoring the interference of the state and other entities in the activities of lawyers and attorneys. The solution could consist of adopting a special document that would protect lawyers and attorneys at the international level.

The statutory goals of the Open Dialog Foundation provide for the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet space. This report examines cases of harassment and attacks on lawyers and attorneys in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine,and Turkey. The latter is not a post-Soviet state, but it is a member of the Council of Europe and therefore has international obligations in the field of standards of law, democratic development, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

https://en.odfoundation.eu/a/8707,defence-for-the-defenders-lawyers-and-attorneys-under-attack-for-participation-in-politically-motivated-cases

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

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Russia: Russian lawyer abducted, beaten & jailed for trying to defend arrested protesters

September 11, 2018

While images of Russian children, elderly pensioners and other protesters being detained, many violently, in Russian cities on 9 September rightly hit world headlines, there was a lot of police brutality and thuggery that went on away from the cameras.  It included the abduction of Mikhail Benyash, a 41-year-old lawyer from Sochi, who had been planning  to defend those detained for peacefully trying to take part in protests against pension reform.  Peaceful protest, like in Ukraine, is guaranteed by Russia’s Constitution, but in practice depends entirely upon the will of the authorities, and the latter in most cities had refused to ‘authorize’ demonstrations.

On 8 September, Benyash, who has previously defended protesters unwarrantedly arrested and prosecuted, was warned by enforcement officers that he would be imprisoned for 15 days if he tried to do his duty to defend protesters.  For that reason, on 9 September, he issued statements to both Russia’s Investigative Committee and the prosecutor’s office concerning this illegal behaviour by the police.

An hour after making this statements, two men in plain clothes seized him in the centre of Krasnodar.  They gave no explanation for this ‘detention’, but one called himself ‘Ivan’, though the others called him Dmitry.  Benyash recognized the other as somebody called Yegor Dolgov.

He tried to telephone in order to inform people that he had either been arrested or abducted, however they tried to grab his phone.  When he resisted, Ivan/Dmitry first twisted his arm, then tried to suffocate him.

One of the witnesses to this detention / abduction, Irina Barkhatova, began videoing what was happening, at which point she was also grabbed and forced into the car, with her phone taken away.

http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1536628772

https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/halya-coynash-russian-lawyer-abducted-beaten-and-jailed-for-trying-to-defend-arrested-protesters.html

https://en.crimerussia.com/gromkie-dela/bailiffs-throw-attorney-out-of-krasnodar-court-room-injuring-his-leg/

https://www.rferl.org/a/amnesty-urges-russia-to-free-assaulted-arbitrarily-detained-lawyer/29486544.html

https://www.dw.com/en/torture-in-russias-prisons-becoming-more-sophisticated-and-brutal/a-45478180

https://www.advgazeta.ru/novosti/v-fpa-postupilo-kollektivnoe-obrashchenie-advokatov-v-zashchitu-mikhaila-benyasha/ (RUSSIAN)

Poland/Tajikistan/Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan/ Russia/Belarus: Next target: legal profession, HDIM side event, Warsaw

September 10, 2018

The legal profession plays a crucial role in ensuring access to justice for all, transparency and accountability of the state, Rule of law and the respect for human rights.

 

Yet, instead of being perceived as a vital player to the justice sector, today lawyers are often targeted by the governments in many OSCE countries for seeking truth and justice. As a result, lawyers often face high risks of persecution, harassment as well as severe sanctions for doing their job.

This side-event aims to specifically discuss the situation of lawyers in Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The discussion will extend to consider the latest developments related to the rights of lawyers and their independence in the respective countries, and what impact this has on the overall rule of law and human rights situation.

This side event will take place on 12 September 2018, from 13.00 -15.00 at Hotel Bristol, Warsaw

Moderator: Jurate Guzeviciute, Programme Lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Presentations and Discussions:

Independence of the legal profession and harassment of lawyers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

https://www.icj.org/next-target-legal-profession-hdim-side-event-warsaw/

Russia: Lawyer who leaked prison torture video flees Russia amid threats

July 24, 2018

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a video footage received from Biryukova showing the torture of an inmate named Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl.

Irina Biryukova, a lawyer with Public Verdict representing Evgeny Makarov, Moscow, 2018.

Irina Biryukova, the lawyer working for the human rights group “Public Verdict” who turned over prison torture footage to Novaya Gazeta last week, has fled Russia after receiving threats.

The organization says she also appealed to Russian law enforcement agencies, asking for state protection for herself and her family. In her letter to Federal Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, Biryukova said several of the guards who appear in the torture video have threatened to take revenge against her for outing them to the public, according to Meduza.

On July 20, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a video footage received from Biryukova showing the torture of an inmate named Evgeny Makarov at a prison in Yaroslavl. The footage was recorded in June 2017.

Though prison officials and local investigators refused to prosecute or punish the guards following earlier complaints, almost immediately after Novaya Gazeta published the video, federal investigators opened a criminal case under Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code: abuse of authority using violence.

https://www.unian.info/world/10199568-lawyer-who-leaked-prison-torture-video-flees-russia-amid-threats.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/07/russia-lawyer-covering-torture-case-flees-country-after-threats/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/30/leaked-video-blows-lid-torture-russian-prisons

https://en.crimerussia.com/gromkie-dela/russian-human-rights-ombudswoman-ready-to-protect-prison-torture-whistleblower/

https://nation.com.pk/23-Jul-2018/russian-investigators-detain-six-prison-guards-over-torture

https://www.rferl.org/a/seventeen-russian-prison-officers-suspended-over-severe-beating-of-inmate/29384460.html

https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/07/23/the-lawyer-who-leaked-a-video-showing-prison-torture-flees-russia-after-disgruntled-guards-come-after-her-with-threats

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-irina-biryukova

http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/10/russia-must-rein-in-torture-prosecute-prison-guards-un

https://arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/defence-for-defenders.pdf

Russia: Lawyer placed on wanted list in case of NPO Lavochkina found on Baikal

July 26, 2018

Lawyer placed on wanted list in case of NPO Lavochkina found on Baikal

Attorney Igor Tretyakov, whom the Investigative Committee placed on the wanted list in the embezzlement case related to the leadership of one of the largest enterprises of Roskosmos, NPO im. Lavochkina (Scientific and Development Center named after Lavochkin), is at the aquabike festival at Lake Baikal and plans to arrive in Moscow.

As Tretyakov told RBC, two weeks ago he had been interviewed at the Investigative Committee, he did not sign a written undertaking not to leave and is not going to hide from the investigation.

“It’s hard for me to talk about the criminal case, I was questioned two weeks ago in the office of the Investigation Committee for the Moscow Region, and I explained my position. Now, I found out that my office and apartment were raided; I do not know what they found there,” says the lawyer.

Igor Tretyakov said that he gave his phone number to the Investigative Committee employees, but nobody tried to contact him. “I am a law-abiding citizen; since 2001, I have been working as a lawyer, I understand what is the consequence and what the ICR is, I certainly would have appeared and given any information necessary,” says Tretyakov. When asked if he would go to the Investigative Committee upon his return to Moscow, Tretyakov replied: “I think that I will be collared right away at the airport.”

On Wednesday, July 25, the Investigative Committee brought a charge against the director of NPO Lavochkina, Sergey Lemeshevsky. He is suspected of embezzlement on a particularly large scale (part 4 of Article 159 CCRF), as previously reported by RBC. The website of the ICR states that Lemeshevsky, together with the head of the Directorate of NPO’s Legal Support Department, Yekaterina Averyanova, concluded fictitious contracts for the provision of legal services with the lawyer’s firm Tretyakov and Partners, which in fact were performed by full-time employees of the NPO’s legal department. The total amount of payments to the attorney’s firm for two years was about 330 million rubles ($ 5,230 million), reported the ICR.

https://en.crimerussia.com/financialcrimes/lawyer-placed-on-wanted-list-in-case-of-npo-lavochkina-found-on-baikal/

https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/07/23/russian-prison-guard-s-relatives-sue-the-journalists-and-human-rights-lawyers-who-outed-the-torture-of-an-inmate

http://tass.com/emergencies/1015539

Russia: Putin Navalny: Opposition leader held at Moscow protest

May 6, 2018

Arrestation de l’opposant Alexeï Navalny à Moscou, le 5 mai.

Riot police have seized Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, at a Moscow rally two days before Vladimir Putin’s inauguration.

He was carried away struggling through the crowd of demonstrators, who had gathered to protest at Mr Putin’s forthcoming fourth term in office.

The rallies in Moscow and Russia’s second city, St Petersburg, were not approved by the authorities.

At least 1,000 arrests were reportedly made at rallies across Russia.

Early on Sunday, Mr Navalny was released from police custody after being charged with organising a rally and resisting the police.

At the rally, protesters on Moscow’s Pushkin Square shouted slogans such as “Down with the tsar!” – “tsar” was the historical title of Russia’s pre-revolutionary emperors – and “Russia without Putin!”. In St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, they shouted “Jail the tsar!”.

Activists have been using a Russian hash tag on Twitter which translates as “He’s not our tsar”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44014762

http://time.com/5266747/alexei-navalny-arrested-russia-anti-putin-protests/

http://fortune.com/2018/05/05/putin-navalny-arrested-russia-opposition-rally/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/may/05/alexei-navalny-and-scores-more-arrested-at-anti-putin-rally-video

http://www.dw.com/en/eu-condemns-russia-protest-arrests-police-brutality/a-43672447

http://www.euronews.com/2018/05/06/putin-critic-navalny-detained-ahead-of-inauguration

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/06/russian-police-release-opposition-leader-alexei-navalny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Navalny

http://www.leprogres.fr/france-monde/2018/05/05/l-opposant-alexei-navalny-arrete-pendant-une-manifestation-anti-poutine (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2018/05/06/russie-alexei-navalny-relache-apres-une-manifestation-anti-poutine_5295025_3210.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ilpost.it/2018/05/05/alexei-navalny-arrestato-mosca/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.clarin.com/mundo/quedo-libertad-lider-opositor-ruso-alexei-navalny_0_S1PSES36z.html (ESPANOL)

https://observador.pt/2018/05/05/alexei-navalny-o-lider-da-oposicao-a-putin-foi-preso/ (PORTUGUES)

Russia: Prominent Russian Lawyer Feigin Disbarred

April 24, 2018

Russian lawyer Mark Feigin (file photo)

The Moscow Chamber of Attorneys has disbarred prominent lawyer Mark Feigin for allegedly unethical behavior.

The lawyer said he considers the April 24 decision to be politically motivated and plans to appeal against it.

The decision comes after lawyer Stalina Gurevich demanded that Feigin be deprived of his status for violating the norms of the lawyers’ code of ethics by using obscene vocabulary on social media against his colleagues and their clients.

Gurevich called allegations that the decision was politically-related “a lie.”

Feigin has defended the punk protest band Pussy Riot and Nadia Savchenko, the Ukrainian airwoman who spent nearly two years in Russian captivity, in politically sensitive cases.

He is also defending Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, who is on trial in Moscow on espionage charges.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-lawyer-feigin-disbarred-savchenko-sushchenko-pussy-riot/29190173.html

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-sushchenko/2448468-feygin-stripped-of-lawyer-status.html

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/pussy-riot-lawyer-disbarred-for-insulting-tweets-61258

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-prominent-lawyer-feigin-to-appeal-disbarment-in-court/29192096.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Feygin

https://www.ukrinform.de/rubric-polytics/2448560-moskauer-rechtsanwaltskammer-entzieht-mark-feigin-zulassung.html (DEUTSCH)

https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-42249383 (RUSSKI)

https://rns.online/society/Zaschischavshii-Savchenko-i-Pussy-Riot-advokat-Mark-Feigin-lishilsya-advokatskogo-statusa–2018-04-24/ (RUSSKI)