Tag Archives: Russia

Russia: Human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov disbarred

28/04/22

On 16 March 2022, the Ministry of Justice attempted to disbar Ivan Pavlov. However, the Council of the St. Petersburg Bar Association instead decided to disbar the human rights lawyer on the same day, and has therefore been forbidden by the St. Petersburg Bar Association to provide any type of legal assitance. It is believed that the decision was made based on the fact that Ivan Pavlov has been outside of Russia for more than six months, and allegedly not fulfillling his professional duties as a lawyer. It was reported that this decision is in the interests of the State prosecutor in the case of Ivan Safronov, whom Ivan Pavlov was representing. His disbarment means that Ivan Pavlov can no longer provide legal assistance to anyone, including Ivan Safronov.

This situation arose from three complaints sent by the Minstry of Justice and one by the Vice President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association to the Qualification Commission. According to the complaints, Ivan Pavlov breached several provisions concerning his work as a lawyer, although the alleged breaches were not specified. The complaints were examined by the Qualification Commission, which found that Ivan Pavlov could not properly perform his duties as a lawyer. Upon receiving the complaints and also carrying out an examination, the Council of the St. Petersburg Bar Association did not agree with the opinion of the Qualification Commission concerning the number of alleged breaches. As a result of their examination of the complaints, the Council disbarred Ivan Pavlov based on the “inability of a lawyer to perform his professional duties for more than six months,” as per Article 16 §2 of the Russian Federal Law on the Bar Association and Bar Activities. However, the evidence based on this Article has not yet been provided to Ivan Pavlov or his lawyer. His disbarment bans Ivan Pavlov from providing anyone with legal assistance.

Since April 2021, Ivan Pavlov has been under criminal investigation, accused of disclosing data of a preliminary investigation concerning one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov. On 19 July 2021, Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeals were rejected by the Moscow City Court regarding the restriction measures forbidding him to use any form of communication, except for calling the emergency services, the investigator for the case, or his relatives, leaving them unchanged.

Ivan Pavlov is a prominent human rights lawyer and director of Team 29, an association of lawyers and journalists. His legal work focuses on defending those wrongly accused by the security services of disclosing state secrets, high treason, or espionage. He has also been working to ensure public access to government information, and with this aim founded the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information which was designated as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in 2014. In 2015, Team 29 was established to provide consultation and legal aid to individuals asserting their right to receive and distribute information, defend victims abused by law enforcement and security agencies, provide recommendations on how to respond to searches, interrogations, arrests, etc. Ivan Pavlov has also contributed to the development of Russian legislation on the right to freedom of information. He received the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights in court in 2015 and the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2018, awarded by Human Rights Watch to activists who put themselves at great risk to protect the dignity and rights of others.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-lawyer-ivan-pavlov-disbarred

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Pavlov_(lawyer)

https://www.reuters.com/legal/legalindustry/global-law-firm-confirms-russia-exit-after-spinoff-sparks-confusion-2022-04-29/

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/24/politics/navalny-russia-maria-pevchikh-what-matters/index.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/ru/case/judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-ivan-pavlov (RUSSIAN)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-ivan-pavlov (FRANCAIS)

UK/Russia/Ukraine: Lawyer-bashing has a new target

27/04/22

Lawyer-bashing has long been a national pastime, with attacks regularly mounted by the press and politicians on ‘fat cat’ defence barristers and ‘activist’ legal aid lawyers for having the nerve to, er, do their job. 

But a new target has emerged – the alleged ‘enablers’ of oligarchs, whose cash was generally welcomed in London until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So it was that a panel of eminent investigative journalists queued up at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday evening to pour scorn on claimant media lawyers as the pressure continues to build.

Some firms are ‘becoming the servants of the super-rich’ and using litigation to try and ‘silence a journalist for years’, said Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose work exposing corruption in Malaysia led to her being sued in London and elsewhere.

Paul Caruana Galizia, a reporter at Tortoise Media whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta in 2017, said London lawyers are offering a ‘one-stop oligarch shop’ and, in certain cases, effectively ‘acting for an organised crime group’.

Even an officer of the court joined in, with Adelaide Lopez – a senior associate at Wiggin who recently represented journalist Catherine Belton – saying that ‘naming and shaming … is probably going to be more effective than anything the SRA is going to do’. Ouch.

Asked whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has the ‘capacity or the competence’ to enforce potential new measures to stop so-called ‘lawfare’, Lopez and fellow lawyer Charlie Holt – UK campaigns manager for English PEN – answered in unison: ‘No.’

Perhaps even Gazette readers who deplore the criticism of lawyers for the clients they represent can agree on that one. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/obiter/lawyer-bashing-has-a-new-target/5112297.article

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/defence-counsel-backs-naming-and-shaming-oligarch-solicitors/5112287.article

https://www.bloombergquint.com/gadfly/banning-oligarch-lawyers-isn-t-the-answer-change-british-law

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/why-dont-we-just-cancel-all-the-oligarch-lawyers/2022/04/26/4c388a90-c52f-11ec-8cff-33b059f4c1b7_story.html

https://www.barandbench.com/news/ukraine-v-russia-who-are-ukraines-lawyers-before-the-international-court-of-justice

(UKRAINIAN)

Resolute and relentless: the lawyers of Ukraine

22/04/22

The legal sector of Ukraine has been thrust into a war-torn whirlwind of an economic climate, bringing with it untold levels of hardship and uncertainty. Yet, in the face of Russian aggression, Ukraine’s lawyers and firms are doing everything they can to uphold their industry – and their nation.

After the first month of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) conducted a survey among law firms to measure the impact of military aggression on the Ukrainian legal market.

The impact has been profound: 100% of large law firms and 87% of medium-sized firms (16-45 lawyers) reported a “significant reduction” in revenues, with 13% stating income has fallen to 30% or lower. 100% of medium-sized firms have also reported a significant (over 30%) decline in workload.

The larger firms (45+ lawyers) – which the report suggests are taking on most of the pro bono and legal aid work – have larger reserve funds. A third of respondents can manage for a year or more, another third for 3-4 months, and the rest for 1-2 months. Medium-sized firms, however, have less reserves: a quarter have enough for 1-2 months, with the rest having enough for 3-4 months.

For small firms, the picture is mixed: their workload and income have increased in some cases but fallen in others. However, 17% have no reserve funds and only 10% have enough for over a year.

Yet, despite the financial difficulties faced by firms, they have made staff a priority. 86% of large firms have relocated staff, with 67% of medium firms and 39% of small firms doing the same. Of all relocated staff, 40% have moved abroad, with 60% remaining in Ukraine. Regarding the number of relocated employees:

[…]

(URGENT: PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

From one day to the next everything is at stake. Lawyer Iurii Grygorenko tells what is happening in Ukraine

19/04/22

“Excuse me, I’m still a little sleepy. Lots of air raid sirens last night.” Iurii Grygorenko, lawyer and member of the Ukrainian National Bar Association’s Committee for Lawyers Rights, shows up at 9 a.m. on 18 March 2022 for an online interview with the Advocatenblad. Twenty-three days ago, Russia invaded Ukraine, which left Grygorenko “perplexed and confused.” It’s not that people didn’t know about the troop buildup. “We just couldn’t imagine that a state that calls us ‘brother people’ would come and kill us.” But the unimaginable happened, and nothing is the same anymore.

Odessa

Grygorenko had a lawyer’s practice in the capital Kiev, which mainly focused on corporate criminal law. That work has come to a complete standstill, as Kiev is nearly encircled and being bombarded. Grygorenko left for his hometown of Odessa, the southern Black Sea port city where his parents live.

Ukrainian Dean

For the time being, and despite the frequently blaring sirens, Odessa seems safer than Kiev, or Kharkiv, the city where the Ukrainian National Bar Association’s President Lydia Izovitova comes from and partly lives. At the end of last year she gave an interview to the Advocatenblad in which she talked about the challenges of an independent legal profession in Ukraine, rather than the Russian threat. How is she doing now? Grygorenko: ‘She’s been deeply affected by the terrible bombing of her city, but as a leader she cannot show that. She occupies herself by managing the financial support of lawyers.”

[…]

Grygorenko has hope for a good outcome. “Honestly, we didn’t think the Ukrainian military would hold up so well. And the population too. We hear the Russian army doesn’t have enough people and equipment, that they aren’t motivated. If the West gives us the tools, we’ll do the work. We will not only protect ourselves, but also the other countries in Eastern Europe. Putin’s ultimate goal is to revive the Warsaw Pact. Including countries like Poland, the Baltic States, Hungary, even the GDR. We want to be Europeans, we respect human rights. Now that Russia is out of the Council of Europe, they’ll reintroduce the death penalty. Please help us protect ourselves and Europe from this aggression.”

Donations to the Ukrainian National Bar Association can be made through:

https://www.advocatenblad.nl/2022/03/21/doneren-aan-orde-van-advocaten-oekraine/

Contributions will only be used for financial support of lawyers.

This interview was originally published in Dutch in the Advocatenblad and written by Trudeke Sillevis Smitt. Lawyers for Lawyers received permission to post the English version of the interview on our website.

https://www.ship2shore.it/en/shipping/russian-maritime-lawyers-reiterate-their-opposition-to-the-russia-ukraine-war_80687.htm

Ukraine: Lawyer Syvova Yana kidnapped by Russian forces

16/04/22

Шановні колеги!

Військова агресія російської федерації проти України 🇺🇦 триває!

Нажаль жертвами військових злочинів стають і наші колеги!

Жахливі події відбуваються на тимчасово окупованих територіях Запорізької області!!!

“Русский мир” несе людям тільки горе та страждання. 10 квітня 2022 року окупаційною комендатурою міста Мелітополя було викрадено прекрасну жінку – адвоката, члена Кваліфікаційно-дисциплінарної комісії адвокатури Запорізької області СИВОВУ ЯНУ ВІТАЛІЇВНУ. “Новою владою” вона утримується без жодних підстав. Її доля невідома ні рідним, ні колегам, ні близьким. Таке “освобождєніє” уготоване жителям окупованих територій!? Вимагаємо від загарбників – Припиніть терор!!!

(Рада адвокатів та КДКА Запорізької області Facebook, 14/04/22)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/16/calls-for-us-to-issue-visa-bans-for-uk-lawyers-enabling-russian-oligarchs

Russian lawyers prevented from carrying out their professional duties

15/04/22

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about threats to the independence of the legal profession and access to justice in the Russian Federation.

Since 24 February 2022 mass protests against the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine have been taking place in many Russian cities. It has been reported that thousands of people have been arrested in anti-war protests across Russia. According to reports, people have been detained, including with the use of physical violence, for the participation in protests, for anti-war symbols or Ukrainian symbols on clothing, for solitary pickets with posters saying messages such as “Peace to the World” and “No War”, and even with a blank sheet with no text or symbols at all.

On 4 March 2022, new repressive laws came into force in the Russian Federation that provide for criminal and administrative liability for the dissemination of so-called ‘fake news’” about the actions of the Russian military and for publicly discrediting their actions. The spread of “fake” information can lead to liability: starting from a fine of up to 1.5 million rubles, and ending with the imprisonment for up to 15 years.

Since 24 February 2022, human rights activistsnews outlets, and the lawyers themselves publish information about lawyers being denied access to those detained at the protests in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Saratov and other Russian cities. In St. Petersburg in February and March, reportedly there were also cases of lawyers not being allowed to visit their clients in the court building.

This is not the first time that Lawyers for Lawyers raises alarm about the safety of lawyers representing peaceful protesters. Already in March 2021, there were a number of instances of lawyers being physically attacked or having trouble accessing clients who had been arrested during peaceful protests against the arrest of opposition leader Aleksej Navalny.

[…]

https://www.euronews.com/2022/04/14/lyubov-sobol-ally-of-kremic-critic-alexei-navalny-given-six-month-prison-sentence

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/04/navalny-documentary-review

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/apr/10/navalny-review-alexei-extraordinary-documentary-assassination-attempt-poisoning

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

Russia/Lithuania: Law student Sofia Sapega Goes On Trial In Belarus In Closed-Door Procedure

28/03/22

The Russian girlfriend of a Belarusian opposition journalist who were both arrested when their plane was forced to land in Minsk last year triggering global outrage has gone on trial.

Sofia Sapega could face up to six years in jail if found guilty of charges that include “inciting social hatred” and “violence or threats” against police.

The closed-door hearing began on March 28 in the western city of Hrodna.

Sapega, 24, was detained with Belarusian opposition activist Raman Pratasevich, 26, in May when Belarus scrambled a military jet to force a Ryanair passenger jet flying over its airspace to land in Minsk. Many countries regarded the diversion as a “state hijacking.”

After the plane landed, law enforcement immediately arrested the two, who were flying from Athens to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. They were later put under house arrest.

Human Rights Watch has described the arrests as part of a “purge” of civil society in Belarus by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Pratasevich faces charges of being behind civil disturbances that followed a disputed presidential election in August 2020, an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-sapega-trial-pratasevich-lukashenka/31774271.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/28/belarus-puts-activists-girlfriend-on-trial-after-dramatic-arrest

https://en.ehu.lt/

https://www.intellinews.com/belarus-grants-political-asylum-to-us-citizen-239436/

https://www.rtbf.be/article/bielorussie-debut-du-proces-de-la-compagne-de-protassevitch-l-opposant-dont-l-avion-avait-ete-deroute-en-2021-10964228 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-arranca-bielorrusia-juicio-rusa-sofia-sapega-pareja-opositor-protasevich-20220328105728.html (ESPANOL)

Russia: Kremlin critic Navalny given new nine-year sentence, lawyers arrested

23/03/22

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison after a Russian court found him guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt of court on Tuesday, and police detained both of his lawyers immediately after the hearing.

Navalny was already serving a two-and-a-half year sentence at a prison camp east of Moscow for parole violations related to charges that he says were fabricated to thwart his political ambitions. His current sentence will be incorporated in the one handed down on Tuesday, his lawyers said.

After his sentence was pronounced, Navalny reacted on Twitter: “I want to say: the best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions. Any activity against the deceitful and thievish Putin’s regime. Any opposition to these war criminals.”

Navalny was jailed last year when he returned to Russia after receiving medical treatment in Germany following an attack with a Soviet-era nerve toxin during a visit to Siberia in 2020. Navalny blamed President Vladimir Putin for the attack.

The Kremlin said it had seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned and denied any Russian role if he was.

[…]

https://www.afr.com/world/europe/kremlin-critic-navalny-given-new-nine-year-sentence-lawyers-arrested-20220323-p5a6z3

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60832310

Submission to UN Human Rights Committee – Russian Federation

01/02/22

A fence, tower, barbed wire

During its 134th session, from 28 February to 25 March 2022, the Human Rights Committee will consider the eight periodic report submitted by the Russian Federation and adopt concluding observations that will assist the Russian Federation in the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In the context of this review, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report in which we highlight key areas of concern about the failure of the government of the Russian Federation to comply with its international human rights commitments to guarantee effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession.

On 14 August 2020, the Human Rights Committee adopted a List of Issues in relation to the eighth periodic report of the Russian Federation, in response to which the Russian Federation submitted a reply. Prior to the adoption of the List of Issues on the Russian Federation, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a contribution to the List of Issues on the Russian Federation, particularly in relation to the obstacles to the independent exercise of the profession of lawyers and violations committed against them. With our new report, we wish to provide a concise update to our report submitted before the adoption of the List of Issues.

Since submitting our report for the adoption of the List of Issues in May 2020, new cases of interference with the work of lawyers have been brought to the attention of Lawyers for Lawyers. New types of interferences with the work of lawyers have also emerged since submitting our report, amongst others in the form of labeling lawyers as “foreign agents”. The below mentioned issues are highlighted in our report. All issues are illustrated by individual cases of lawyers.

Firstly, new cases of lawyers facing difficulties in accessing their clients were brought to the attention of Lawyers for Lawyers. These problems particularly emerged during the large-scale protests that took place in the beginning of 2021. Secondly, lawyers in the Russian Federation who are working on sensitive cases (often with a political dimension) are sometimes subjected to attempts by investigative authorities to harass and disrupt their work. They face threats, intimidation and (physical) attacks in connection with their legitimate activities as lawyers.

[…]

https://www.dw.com/en/a-culture-of-torture-and-fear-is-rife-in-russias-prisons/a-60614959

https://www.rferl.org/a/chechnya-kalyapin-mother-intimidation/31679544.html

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/life-and-public/2022/02/moscow-bans-more-eu-officials-entering

https://www.npr.org/2022/01/26/1075710006/russia-named-jailed-opposition-leader-alexei-navalny-terrorist

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/01/26/russia-issues-arrest-warrant-for-navalnys-brother-a76156

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/01/28/navalny-thrilling-documentary-goes-inside-investigation-to-uncover-kremlin-critics-would-be-assassins-a76181

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/01/31/ex-navalny-volunteer-faces-10-year-prison-term-for-hateful-online-comments-a76205

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/jan/27/navalny-review-shocking-documentary-of-a-russian-poisoning

Chechen Rights Lawyer’s Mother ‘Kidnapped’ in Western Russia – NGO

21/01/22

The mother of a Chechen rights lawyer and activist has been “kidnapped” in western Russia by Chechen law enforcement a month after dozens of his relatives were detained, an NGO that tracks torture reported Thursday.

The Committee Against Torture said masked men broke into the home of Abubakar Yangulbaev’s family, using brute force against his relatives and lawyers in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Video filmed by Yangulbaev’s sister showed violent scenes inside the family’s apartment and masked men dragging away his mother, Zarema Musaeva.

They did not detain Yangulbaev’s father Saydi Yangulbaev because he is a retired federal judge who enjoys immunity. Footage of the aftermath showed him with a bruised face.

Musaeva is diabetic and was not allowed to take insulin when she was dragged away, the Yangulbaev family said in several interviews with independent Russian broadcasters. They added that she was awaiting coronavirus test results on the day of her detention and may have the illness.

Musaeva “lost consciousness in the stairwell,” the Committee Against Torture said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. “Her life is in real danger.”

It said the men, who introduced themselves as Chechen police officers, detained Musaeva on orders for her and her husband to appear as witnesses in a 2019 fraud case in Chechnya. 

The NGO said Nizhny Novgorod traffic police officers arrived at the Yangulbaevs’ home, but left after a “friendly chat” with one of the self-declared Chechen officers.

The regional Federal Security Service (FSB) office did not react to judge Yangulbaev’s report of the kidnapping.

[…]

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/01/21/chechen-rights-lawyers-mother-kidnapped-in-western-russia-ngo-a76112

https://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/57986/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/abubakar-yangulbaev-says-armed-men-kidnapped-30-members-of-his-family

https://takiedela.ru/news/2022/01/21/abubakar-yangulbaev/ (RUSSIAN)

https://www.gamingdeputy.com/fr/lepouse-de-lancien-juge-de-la-cour-supreme-de-tchetchenie-a-ete-enlevee-par-des-hommes-armes-et-masques-actualites-russes-fr/ (FRANCAIS)