29 November 2016
The lawyers of Aleksei Pichugin, a political prisoner and the former chief of Yukos’ economic security division, have turned to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with a memorandum on non-compliance with a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision, reports Pravo.ru citing Kommersant.
Aleksei Pichugin was arrested in 2003. Over the course of two trials, Pichugin was given a lengthy prison sentence and, later, a life sentence. He was alleged to have organized multiple murders and attempted murders.
In March 2013, the ECtHR ruled that the first of the two proceedings was unfair and in violation of a number of norms enshrined in the Convention on Human Rights including the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Russia was to pay Pichugin 9,500 euros in damages.
However, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decreed that the violations identified by the ECtHR ‘did not influence the verdict’s legality,’ and refused to quash the verdict. In addition, the authorities declared that the funds in question had been frozen in the applicant’s Sberbank account on the instructions of the Federal Bailiffs Service.
His lawyers now insist that Aleksei Pichugin’s continued detention makes him the injured party, and claim that the same infractions the ECtHR found in the first trial were also present in the second of Pichugin’s two cases, the application concerning which the ECtHR communicated in 2015.
The lawyers for the applicant also notified the ECtHR in Strasbourg that the political prisoner has been brought to Moscow from the penal colony in Orenburg for questioning by the Federal Security Service (FSB).
In their eyes, the authorities are trying to have Pichugin testify as part of their investigation into, and continued prosecution of, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Such testimony is believed to be ‘a prerequisite for the possibility of a pardon’ for Pichugin.
The lawyers have asked that the question of compliance with the ECtHR’s decision be raised in a public hearing.
See also: Memorial Human Rights Centre on the case of Aleksei Pichugin; Coverage of the case of Aleksei Pichugin by HRO.org (“Права человека в России")
Translated by Lincoln Pigman
HRO.org in English >