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PACE may exert pressure on Russia over Aleksanian

24.01.2008    source:

The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Lluís Maria de Puig does not exclude the possibility of pressure being brought to bear of Russia to ensure that it enforces the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. As already reported here, Strasbourg has repeatedly demanded that Vasily Aleksanian, the former Vice President of YUKOS, be given proper medical treatment.  Mr Aleksanian has been held in a remand centre since April 2006. 

Mr de Puig told the radio station Echo Moskvy that “if several parliamentarians put forward an initiative” to insist on enforcement of the EU’s ruling, then “the Assembly may consider this and take the appropriate decision.  We can at least initiate a discussion in order to place pressure in favour of implementing the Court’s ruling”.

As we reported, the Russian Supreme Court on Tuesday 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.

Vasily Aleksanian stated in court that the investigator had offered to get him released in exchange for testimony incriminating Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. “I cannot give false testimony against innocent people and buy my life in that way, he said. I do not know of any crimes committed in the YUKOS case.

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. 

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