Punishment without trial to continue for gravely ill former YUKOS Vice President Vasily Aleksanian


The Simonovsky Court in Moscow has extended the custody period of former YUKOS Vice-President Vasily Aleksanian until 22 January 2009.  The application to extend custody by three months was made by the investigators.

“The court has decided to extend until 22 January the period of remand in custody of Vasily Aleksanian. The possibility of choosing a more lenient preventive measure is not in question”, the judge said.

Vasily Aleksanian’s lawyers intend to lodge an appeal with the Moscow City Court.

During the hearing, Aleksanian’s lawyer Gevorg Dangyan stated that at the present time the question is being considered as to whether to transfer his client to the haematological scientific centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences since his spleen may need to be removed. The lawyer maintained that the court had neither the legal nor the humanitarian grounds for continuing to hold Vasily Aleksanian in custody. He stressed that his client needed to concentrate all his physical and mental energy on fighting his illness and that any grounds for holding him in custody after two and a half years were not valid.

The representative of the Prosecutor General disagreed.  He did not give any argument except to say that Aleksanian is now receiving qualified medical treatment in a civil clinic.

On 6 February the same court suspended Aleksanian’s trial due to his state of health.

On 17 March they removed the chain that had confined him to his bed since the hospital ward was fully guarded.

As already reported, former YUKOS Vice-President Vasily Aleksanian has been remanded in custody in Russia for two and a half years without a conviction on financial charges similar to those against Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He is gravely ill with two potentially fatal medical conditions, yet the authorities are refusing to transfer him to a civil hospital.  

The authorities were insisting on holding him in a normal remand prison despite calls from human rights defenders in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and many other countries.  It was only after the European Court of Human Rights issued its third call to Russia to transfer Mr Aleksanian to a specialist hospital and provide the Court with details about the treatment he is receiving, that Mr Aleksanian was moved to a clinic.  The conditions, however, at least at first could not be checked since his lawyer and relatives were virtually denied access.

It would seem that the authorities are determined that Vasily Aleksanian die in custody despite the fact that he has not been convicted of any crime.


(Halya Coynash, with new information from )

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