The Khodorkovsky and Lebedev case: a small move towards legality
The Moscow City Court has upheld its ruling on the illegality of holding the investigation into new charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in Chita.
In so doing, it rejected the “nadzornoye predstavlenye” [a Prosecutors appeal over a ruling which has already come into force] from the Prosecutor General which had called for all court rulings prohibiting the pre-trial investigation of the two men in Chita where they are imprisoned.
Platon Lebedevs lawyer Yelena Liptser told the agency ITAR-TASS that after this ruling the two men would have to be brought to Moscow. Ms Litser said, however, that they were not counting on this since the Prosecutor General was continuing to appeal the ruling at “nadzornoye” level.
As reported here, the Prosecutor General recently lodged a “nadzornoye predstavlenye” with the Supreme Court which ordered that the same court consider the appeal.
This makes it all the more cheering that the latter court did not buckle under. To recap on events already reported here. Moscows Basmanny Court on 20 March this year declared it unlawful to hold the pre-trial investigation into the new criminal charges in Chita. The court then accepted the argument of the mens lawyers that the investigation had to be carried out in Moscow where the activities the men are charged with allegedly took place. The court ruling stated that transferring the criminal investigation to Chita was a violation of the constitutional right to defence (Chita is very far away, and access for lawyers, etc is limited). This ruling was later upheld by the Moscow City Court, which thus rejected a cassation appeal by the Prosecutor, and has now rejected the latest attempt by the Prosecutor General.
The new criminal proceedings against former head of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, who are serving sentences thousands of miles away from Moscow over charges of tax evasion which are widely believed to be politically motivated. It should be mentioned that the Swiss Federal Court in August rejected a request by the Russian authorities for mutual legal assistance on the grounds of human rights and political persecution related to the Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Yukos case.
Based on material published at www.prime-tass.ru and here