Poison attempt on the lawyer representing Anna Politkovskayas family
The next hearing in the trial of those charged over Anna Politkovskayas murder is scheduled for Friday. At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday the Moscow District Military Court refused to defer proceedings until the lawyer representing Anna Politkovskayas family is well enough to attend following what seems to have been an attempt to poison her. Karina Moskalenko, the renowned human rights lawyer, who was in Strasbourg, found a substance similar to mercury inside her car. She and her family have been treated for nausea and headaches. The French police have initiated a criminal investigation. Ms Moskalenko told Radio Svoboda that the police report would be ready on Monday at the earliest and that the police had asked her not to make any comments or talk about the investigation. She said that she felt weak, giddy and nauseous and that she was still being treated by a doctor.
Ms Moskalenko was in Strasbourg together with her husband and three children, 16-year-old sons and a two-year-old daughter. Her colleague, Anna Stavitskaya is convinced that the poison attempt is linked with Ms Moskalenkos work. She and many other human rights defenders believe this to have been an attempt to intimidate her. Of particular concern is obviously the fact that the mercury was found in a car which children were known to be travelling in.
As well as this case, Ms Moskalenko is Mikhail Khodorkovskys lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights, and has represented victims of “Nord Ost” and relatives of victims of the Beslan Tragedy. In recent years she has represented the families of people who disappeared in Chechnya or victims of torture at the Court in Strasbourg.
The hearings into the case of those so far charged over the killing of Anna Politkovskaya are likely to be behind closed doors because they refer to secret documents.
Based on information from Radio Svoboda, the BBC and www.grani.ru