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22.01.2008

Vengeance is ours …

   

The Russian Supreme Court has refused to release former Vice President of YUKOS Vasily Aleksanian who is being held on remand despite being gravely ill. The Court rejected a cassation appeal in which Aleksanian asked to be released in order to have medical treatment.

Mr Aleksanian, a lawyer by profession, was remanded in custody almost 2 years ago, on suspicion of embezzlement and tax fraud.  Since a court unlawfully revealed his medical condition last week, there is no need to conceal it here.  In October 2006 he was diagnosed as being HIV-positive.  Doctors then said he could be held in custody if given antiretroviral treatment there.  According to his lawyer, he has never received any treatment for this condition or for the tuberculosis he also contracted in the SIZO [remand centre]. 

His lawyer Yelena Lvova states that according to the law, people with AIDS must be treated in special medical institutions.

The European Court of Human Rights first called on Russia to transfer Aleksanian to a special hospital on 27 November 2007.  It reiterated this on 6 December, and on 21 December clearly told the Russian authorities that the Court would deem it a violation of the right to life (Article 2) and the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment (Article 3) of the European Convention if Aleksanian died in the SIZO or if his condition deteriorated as a result of the lack of treatment. 

Mr Aleksanian is now apparently almost blind, and as well as the conditions already mentioned, has a tumour in the kidney and heart problems.   Since Russian legislation itself allows for release from custody in such cases, any reasons based on law for the Supreme Court’s ruling remain a mystery.

It is difficult not to feel despair seeing the most vital mechanisms for justice so abused or disregarded, however we are talking about a man’s life. 

Amnesty International has called on people to write to various Russian authorities, as well as to President Putin.  Please try to help.  More information can be found here:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/alfresco_asset/d26c8f76-c5d8-11dc-9af1-b1d22f3b300e/eur460022008eng.html

 

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