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09.07.2009

Courts stalling appeals from arrested Russian human rights activist Alexei Sokolov

   

Alexei Sokolov was until May this year an active defender of prisoners’ rights. He is the Head of the civic organizations “Legal Basis” [Pravovaya Osnova] which campaigns on torture and other ill-treatment of people held in Russia’s prisons and detention centres. He was appointed by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation to a civic supervisory committee for ensuring human rights in places of confinement

He was arrested on 13 May supposedly on suspicion of involvement in an attack in 2004 on the industrial base “UralTermoSvar” during which welding equipment and a cable were stolen. Five years on, two prisoners serving sentences for other crimes “confessed” to this one and named Alexei Sokolov as accomplice.

Alexei’s lawyers told the information agency “Sutyazhnik press” on 9 July that the courts are deliberately obstructing examination of his complaints of unlawful behaviour by the investigators.

One head of the Bogdanovich City Court Anna Karpenko, without any court ruling, returned two complaints filed by Alexei’s lawyer against his detention, and against the refusal of the investigator to tape the formal confrontation between Sokolov and Belyash claiming that these cases were not under the court’s jurisdiction. The lawyer, Roman Kachanov, encountered similar attempts at stalling the case at another court despite the five-day period stipulated by law for reviewing such cases.

The latter Verkh-Isetsky District Court in Yekaterinburg also refused to consider a complaint lodged by a lawyer from the Moscow Helsinki Group over investigative operations carried out before Alexei’s detention. The judge stated in her ruling that such investigative operations could not in principle be appealed against.

            The lawyers are now preparing a cassation appeal, but are aware that this will also be dragged out. They believe that the courts are acting on a directive from above, delaying review of complaints over clearly unlawful actions and decisions by investigation units.

From information posted at www.hro1.org

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