a-4761 (ACC-RUS-4761)

In response to your above request we may provide you with the following information:
Mikhail Khodorkovskii, Platon Lebedev and Aleksei Pichugin
RIA Novosti enumerates in its “Timeline: Yukos” the following actions against former leading Yukos individuals Khodorkovskii, Platon Lebedev and Aleksei Pichugin:
“2003 : On July 2, Platon Lebedev, a major Yukos shareholder, is arrested and accused of having illegally acquired shares in Apatit, a fertilizer company, in 1994. Khodorkovsky is questioned and released two days later.
25 October, 2003 : Khodorkovsky is arrested during a visit to Siberia, flown to Moscow and charged with various counts of fraud and tax evasion.
25 March, 2005: Ex-Yukos security chief Alexei Pichugin is convicted of murder and attempted murder.
31 May, 2005: After 12 days of summing up the trial, the judges find Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty of six charges including tax evasion and sentence them to nine years in prison each.
22 September, 2005: Khodorkovsky and Lebedev lose an appeal against convictions for fraud and tax evasion dismissed by a court in Moscow. The court upheld all but one count against Khodorkovsky, cutting his jail sentence from nine to eight years.”(RIA Novosti, 28 November 2005)
In a more detailed article, RIA Novosti reported on 31 May 2005 that former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were sentenced to nine years in prison, and Volna CEO Andrei Krainov was given a suspended five-year sentence by a Moscow court:
“The Meshchansky court has sentenced former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and his business partner Menatep head Platon Lebedev to nine years in prison. They will serve their sentence in a general security prison. Volna CEO Andrei Krainov's five-year sentence was suspended. Prosecutor Dmitry Shokhin had sought the 10-year maximum sentence for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev and 5.5-year suspended sentence with a five-year probation period for Krainov.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were also ordered to pay 17.395 billion rubles (some $600 million) to the federal tax service. The court recommended levying 15 million-ruble and 62 million-ruble lawsuits against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev respectively. The court ordered the conversion of the two men's arrested deposits of $47,210 and 629,700 rubles (about $22,287) to the state. The court quashed charges of embezzlement of 20% of Apatit stock because the statute of limitations had expired.” (RIA Novosti, 31 May 2005)
Already in January 2005, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE-PACE) has noted in its resolution 1418 amongst others the following shortcomings during the process against Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and Pichugin: delays in obtaining the prosecutor's permission to enter into contact with their clients, denial of access of Lebedev's defence lawyers to the courtroom during the hearing deciding on his pre-trial detention, search and seizure of documents in the defence lawyers' offices, summons of lawyers for questioning on their clients' cases and alleged eavesdropping against defence lawyers, unjustified restrictions on the publicity of certain court proceedings and denial of bail:
“7. Facts pointing to serious procedural violations committed by different law-enforcement agencies against Mr Khodorkovsky, Mr Lebedev and Mr Pichugin, former leading Yukos executives, have been corroborated during fact-finding visits whilst some allegations appear to have been exaggerated by the defence team. On the whole, the findings call into question the fairness, impartiality and objectivity of the authorities, which appear to have acted excessively in disregard of fundamental rights of the defence guaranteed by the Russian Criminal Procedure Code and by the ECHR.
8. The most serious corroborated shortcomings include the following:
i. despite specific requests of the defence lawyers, tests that could have established whether or not Mr Pichugin had been injected with psychotropic drugs were not carried out in good time; Mr Pichugin was also held in the “Lefortovo” prison, which is not subject to the usual controls of the Ministry of Justice and remains under the direct authority of the Federal Security Service (FSB), contrary to a specific commitment the Russian Federation undertook when joining the Council of Europe;
ii. shortcomings in medical attention to Mr Lebedev in prison: in the face of serious concern about Mr Lebedev’s deteriorating state of health, the prison authorities have so far refused to allow him to be examined by independent doctors, despite repeated requests;
iii. delays in obtaining the prosecutor’s permission have prevented the lawyers from entering into contact with their clients during a particularly critical time after their arrests, making it more difficult for them to organise their defence; a legislative reform abolishing the requirement of prior permission from the prosecutor’s office for a lawyer to visit his or her client in prison has not been applied in practice, at least not in the case of the former Yukos executives;
iv. denial of access of Mr Lebedev’s defence lawyers to the courtroom during the hearing to determine the matter of his pre-trial detention;
v. search and seizure of documents in the defence lawyers’ offices; summoning of lawyers for questioning on their clients’ cases; and alleged eavesdropping against defence lawyers. The prosecution must not be allowed to circumvent the privileged lawyer-client relationship by simply playing with case file numbers, especially when the cases are as closely related to one another as the criminal cases against MM. Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and Pichugin, and the tax cases against Yukos and its subsidiaries;
vi. unjustified restrictions on the publicity of certain court proceedings: members of the public have had extremely limited access to certain hearings – that were announced as public – whilst other hearings were or are being held in camera. In particular, all proceedings against Mr Pichugin have been held in camera even though only a small portion of the case file has been classified as secret; his lawyers have been placed under strict instructions not to discuss the proceedings in public, and even the reasons given in the final judgment may be kept secret;
vii. denial of bail (in particular regarding Mr Khodorkovsky): Mr Khodorkovsky was placed in pre-trial detention several months after Mr Lebedev’s arrest on very similar grounds, an arrest that media reports interpreted as a “warning” to Mr Khodorkovsky. Mr Khodorkovsky’s conduct showed that there was no risk of absconding or of interfering with evidence. After the completion of the pre-trial investigation, Mr Khodorkovsky and Mr Lebedev were kept in custody, which raises additional issues in light of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of Kalashnikov v. Russia and Letellier v. France. Also, following a recent legislative reform, persons accused of non-violent “economic crimes”, such as those allegedly committed by Mr Khodorkovsky, are generally not placed in pre-trial detention.
viii. other unfair features of the trials against Mr Khodorkovsky, Mr Lebedev and Mr Pichugin: the court systematically allows the prosecutor to read out the minutes of the pre-trial interrogation of witnesses and to put pressure on the witness in the courtroom to simply confirm those minutes. This undermines the effectiveness of the right of the defence to question witnesses of the prosecution, whose pre-trial interrogation they are generally not able to attend. The defence lawyers are also not allowed to exchange written notes with the accused in the pre-trial detention centre and in the courtroom. They can only exchange notes after the court has first read them.
9. The Assembly notes that the circumstances surrounding the arrest and prosecution of the leading Yukos executives strongly suggest that they are a clear case of non-conformity with the rule of law and that these executives were – in violation of the principle of equality before the law – arbitrarily singled out by the authorities.
10. In particular, the allegedly abusive practices used by Yukos to minimise taxes were also used by other oil and natural resource companies operating in the Russian Federation, which have not been subjected to a similar tax reassessment, or its forced execution, and whose leading executives have not been criminally prosecuted. Whilst the law was changed in 2004 and the alleged “loophole” thus closed, the incriminated acts date back to 2000 and retrospective prosecution started in 2003.
11. Intimidating action by different law-enforcement agencies against Yukos and its business partners and other institutions linked to Mr Khodorkovsky and his associates and the careful preparation of this action in terms of public relations, taken together, give a picture of a co-ordinated attack by the state.
12. Making criminal charges against persons who made use of the possibilities offered by the law as it stood at the time of the incriminated acts, following a retroactive change of the tax law, raises serious issues pertaining to the principle of nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege laid down in Article 7 of the ECHR and also to the right to the protection of property laid down in Article 1 of the Additional Protocol to the ECHR.
13.The circumstances of the sale by auction of Yuganskneftegaz to “Baikal Finance Group” and the swift takeover of the latter by state-owned Rosneft raises additional issues related to the protection of property (ECHR, Additional Protocol, Article 1). This concerns both the circumstances of the auction itself, resulting in a price far below the fair market-value, and the way Yukos was forced to sell off its principal asset, by way of trumped-up tax reassessments leading to a total tax burden far exceeding that of Yukos’s competitors, and for 2002 even exceeding Yukos’ total revenue for that year.
14. In view of paragraphs 8 to 13 above, the Assembly considers that the circumstances of the arrest and prosecution of leading Yukos executives suggest that the interest of the state’s action in these cases goes beyond the mere pursuit of criminal justice, and includes elements such as the weakening of an outspoken political opponent, the intimidation of other wealthy individuals and the regaining of control of strategic economic assets. ” (CoE-PACE, 25 January 2005)
In August 2005, BBC News reported that Khodorkovsky has gone on hunger strike over what he sees as the unfair treatment of his ex-business partner Lebedev:
“Khodorkovsky, once Russia's wealthiest man, has refused food and water for several days, his lawyer told Russian TV and radio stations. Platon Lebedev was placed in solitary confinement last week for allegedly insulting prison guards. Khodorkovsky was sentenced to nine years in May for fraud and tax evasion. Lebedev was handed the same sentence. The pair are being held at a Moscow detention centre while they appeal against the verdicts.
Speaking to Russian media, Khodorkovsky lawyer Anton Drel said his client had instructed him to read a statement announcing his protest. "On August 19... my comrade Platon Lebedev was moved to a 3 sq m [32 sq ft] isolation cell. Platon is seriously ill," the statement said. "It is obvious that they threw my friend into the isolation cell to get their revenge on me, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for [giving] articles and interviews." "He knows he is not alone," the statement added. "Let the Kremlin think it is showing strength, in fact it is a display of their weakness and fear. "Being in no condition to enter an open political discussion with me, they use the last weapons - an isolation cell and a common cell."
Mr Khodorkovsky recently gave an interview to a Russian newspaper repeating his belief that his verdict would eventually be overturned. Lebedev was reported to have refused to be escorted by prison guards on a regular exercise walk in the prison grounds, citing health reasons. It appears he was accused of insulting his guards in the process of refusing to accompany them outside. Mikhail Khodorkovsky's supporters protest his innocence of all charges, maintaining that he was the victim of a political campaign to undermine his power base and end his political ambitions. He has hinted that he may stand for parliament while in prison, a move which prompted prison authorities to move him into more crowded accommodation, says the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.” (BBC News, 23 August 2005)
Leonid Nevzlin
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on 27 July 2004 that the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office issued an international arrest warrant for Yukos major shareholder Leonid Nevzlin on charges including murder and attempted murder. It further states that Nivzlin is an Israeli citizen and currently lives in Israel:
“The Prosecutor-General's Office on 26 July issued a second international arrest warrant for Yukos major shareholder Leonid Nevzlin on charges including murder and attempted murder, Russian and international media reported. In January, the authorities issued a warrant for Nevzlin on charges of numerous economic crimes, including fraud and tax evasion. "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 27 July that the charges against Nevzlin are largely based on the testimony of Igor Korovnikov, who was convicted of nine murders and numerous rapes and assaults in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison. The latest charges against Nevzlin are related to the current murder trial of former Yukos security official Aleksei Pichugin. Nevzlin is charged with ordering Pichugin to organize and commit numerous murders, including that of businessman Sergei Gorin and his wife. Nevzlin is also charged with organizing two attempts on the life of East Petroleum President Yevgenii Rybin. Nevzlin last week accused Rybin of attempting to blackmail him and asked the Prosecutor-General's Office to investigate the matter (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 July 2004). Nevzlin, an Israeli citizen, is currently living in Israel. "I highly doubt that the prosecutor-general will send Israel an extradition demand," Genri Reznik, Nevzlin's lawyer, told newsru.com. RC” (RFE/RL, 27 July 2005)
The group around Alexei Kurtsyn (other spelling: Kurtsin) and Mikhail Trushin
RIA Novosti reported on November 25, 2004 that a week ago Russian prosecutors detained Alexei Kurtsin, Yukos's deputy chief of administration, and issued warrants for the arrest of another three top managers, among them first vice president Mikhail Trushin (RIA Novosti, 25 November 2004).
On 01 December 2005, RFE/RL reported that former Yukos employee Aleksei Kurtsin and eight other defendants were given sentences between two and 14 years in jail on embezzlement and money-laundering charges:
“A court in Moscow today sentenced a former Yukos employee and his eight co-defendants to between two and 14 years in jail on embezzlement and money-laundering charges. The heaviest sentence was handed down to former Yukos acting property manager Aleksei Kurtsin, who was also fined 1 million rubles ($34,700). The Lefortovo court ruled that Kurtsin would serve his sentence in a high-security prison camp. Prosecutors accuse the group of using fraudulent charities to launder some $340 million of the oil giant's assets.” (RFE/RL, 1 December 2005)
RIA Novosti reported on 1 December 2005 that Yukos's deputy chief of administration Alexei Kurtsyn has been sentenced by a Moscow court to 14 years in jail for money laundering, and his business associates, Alexei Alexandrov and Igor Goncharov, have to pay a fine, while Kurtsyn’s main partner, senior vice president of Yukos-Moscow Mikhail Trushin, was on a international wanted list. Eight businessmen linked to the case have been sentenced to 2 to 13 years in jail:
“A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Kurtsyn, a deputy property manager of the Moscow branch of the embattled Yukos oil company, to 14 years in jail for money laundering. Kurtsyin, who is to serve his sentence in a high security colony, and his business associates, Alexei Alexandrov and Igor Goncharov, will also have to pay a fine of 1 million rubles ($34,800).
Investigators said Kurtsin and his main partner, Mikhail Trushin, a senior vice president of Yukos-Moscow, had been laundering money through bogus charity foundations. The businessmen withdrew 342 million rubles ($11.89 million) from corporate accounts in what they said was aid for public organizations and foundations, and registered fund-raising organizations in Moscow and other cities in the European part of Russia, the prosecutors said. The bulk of the transferred money ended up in the hands of Kurtsin and Trushin, the latter being on the international wanted list, prosecutors said.
Alexandrov was found guilty of cashing in the money. "Most of the funds landed in the pockets of people who pursued illegal activities," the judge said.
Eight businessmen linked to the case have been sentenced to 2 to 13 years in jail. Four defendants were taken into custody in the courtroom.” (RIA Novosti, 1 December 2005)
Dmitry Gololobov
According to the RIA Novosti report mentioned above from 25 November 2004, a warrant for the arrest of three Yukos top managers was issued, among them Yukos chief lawyer Dmitry Gololobov (RIA Novosti, 25 November 2004).
On March 9, 2005, on RIA Novosti was mentioned that Yukos chief lawyer Dmitry Gololobov went abroad after being summoned for interrogation on October 9, 2004 (RIA Novosti, 9 March 2005).
Alexander Temerko
According to the RIA Novosti report mentioned above from 25 November 2004, a warrant for the arrest of three Yukos top managers was issued, among them Yukos senior vice president Alexander Temerko (RIA Novosti, 25 November 2004).
On December 23, 2005, RIA Novosti reported that former Yukos vice president and deputy board chairman of Alexander Temerko has lived in London since November 2004 and that a London court denied Russia his extradition:
“The Bow Street Magistrates Court denied Russia the extradition of Alexander Temerko, former vice president and deputy board chairman of embattled oil major Yukos, Friday.
Judge Timothy Workman issued the ruling after studying Russia's extradition case and hearing from witnesses. The judge cited articles 81 and 87 of British extradition law on political persecution.
The defense team furnished ample evidence and called witnesses to prove that the case was politically motivated, Workman said. Russia, however, did not back its case with witness statements. The judge cited a defense witness who said Temerko would not face a fair trial in Russia and recalled that Bill Bowring, the British lawyer who represented Chechens in the European Court of Human Rights, had been deported from Russia. Workman ruled that the defendant should be cleared of the charges and released.
Lawyer Peter Coldwell representing Russia did not say whether the prosecution would appeal the decision, but said they had 14 days to decide.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office, which sent the extradition request to Britain, has accused Temerko, who has lived in London since November 2004, of masterminding the embezzlement of 19.7% of shares in Russian oil and gas company Yeniseineftegaz in 2002.” (RIA Novosti, 23 December 2005)
Svetlana Bakhmina
According to an announcement issued by RIA Novosti on December 8, 2004, Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina was detained on embezzlement suspicion a day earlier. Bakhmina and her alleged accomplices are suspected of embezzling Tomskneft and East Petroleum Company, or VNK, assets to eight billion roubles (RIA Novosti, 8 December 2004).
On March 9, 2005, RIA Novosti reported that the Moscow City Court approved the prolongation of the arrest of Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina (RIA Novosti, 9 March 2005).
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE-PACE) commented the arrest of Svitlana Bakhmina in it’s report from 3 June 2005 as follows:
“We are disturbed by the news that the deputy head of the Yukos legal department Mrs Svitlana Bakhmina, who was arrested in December 2004, is still in detention on remand” (CoE-PACE, 3 June 2005, Par. 325)
Bruce Misamore
According to RIA Novosti, Bruce Misamore, the financial director of the Yukos oil major and an American citizen, was summoned to the Prosecutor General's Office for questioning on 24 November 2004 (RIA Novosti, 25 November 2004).
Natalia Chernysheva and Dmitry Maruyev
On March 16, 2005, RIA Novosti wrote about the judging of a London court on extraditing Yukos employees Natalya Chernyshova and Dmitry Maruyev, who are charged by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office with fraud, and who are residing in the UK and have turned to the British authorities for an asylum:
“The Prosecutor General's Office charged Ms. Chernyshova and Mr. Maruyev as well as several other persons in absentia with fraud, having obtained court warrants for their arrest and put them on the international wanted list.
Now residing in the UK, Ms. Chernyshova and Mr. Maruyev turned to the British authorities for an asylum. No decision has been made on that. The two remain on bail and must appear at hearings in court. The hearings are to resume on Wednesday, March 16.“ (RIA Novosti, 16 March 2005)
On December 23, 2005, RIA Novosti mentioned in a different context that the extradition of Natalia Chernysheva and Dmitry Maruyev was denied in March 2005 (RIA Novosti, 23 December 2005).
In a statement from 11 April 2005, Amnesty International (AI) also mentions the extradition procedure in London:
“We note that a court in the United Kingdom hearing an extradition request by the Russian government in relation to Dmitri Maruev and Natalia Chernisheva recently concluded that "it is more likely than not that the Prosecution of Mr Khordorkovsky is politically motivated". Bow Street Magistrates Court, decision of 18 March 2005 to refuse extradition. The court also found that a fair trial of Dmitri Maruev and Natalia Chernisheva wanted in Russia on charges of conspiring to commit fraud, together with Mikhail Khodorkovskii, would be likely to be prejudiced by their political opinions and the opinions of those associated with them; and that moreover the charges against them were politically motivated, having been ordered by President Putin.” (AI, 11 April 2005)
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) commented the judging of the London court on March 30, 2005 as follows:
“A U.K. court's recent decision to deny two Russian extradition requests over alleged wrongdoing at oil giant Yukos has strained relations between London and Moscow. The verdict on 25 March was particularly harsh in its characterization of Russian authorities' legal efforts aimed at former Yukos executives as politically motivated. The decision has fueled criticism in the British media of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration, which has seen extradition defeats before at the hands of British authorities.
The British media are rife with reports that President Putin is increasingly angry with the United Kingdom over extraditions. Moscow has already accused British officials of sheltering Chechen "terrorists" and fugitive white-collar criminals in the past. The London court that acted on 25 March is the same one that previously rejected extradition requests for Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakaev and exiled oligarch Boris Berezovskii.
The latest case involves two former Yukos executives -- senior accountant Dmitrii Maruev and Nataliya Chernysheva -- accused of billions of dollars' worth of fraud.
Professor Bill Bowring is an expert in law at the London Metropolitan University. He says British courts are not alone in their skepticism of the Russian justice system. "I was the expert witness in the case. But I am a barrister as it happens, and I think it was a very good decision." "It's very unpleasant for Russia, but actually one of the European Court of Human Rights cases which the judge had in mind in the case of Chernysheva and Maruev, was the case decided last year. Mr. [Vladimir] Gusinskii, the oligarch, was complaining about his arrest and detention in Russia. The [European] court decided that he had been arrested and detained for an ulterior motive in order to pressurize him into doing a commercial deal with the government," Bowring says. Bowring notes that Russian judges appear to be under heavy state pressure. He says that makes it even harder for Russian authorities to swallow the U.K. court's rulings as independent.
It also provides added force to the London judge's suggestion that President Putin himself ordered prosecutions in the Yukos case. Again, Professor Bowring: "We have an extradition act in Britain. Under that act, the court can refuse extradition if the extradition is sought not in fact because of the crime but [rather] because of the political opinions of the person they seek to extradite -- basically, if the requesting state has an ulterior motive. So Judge [Timothy] Workman found that Russia did have an ulterior motive -- that the real reason was the political opinions of the defendant," Bowring says. Bowring notes that extradition may also be denied in cases where discrimination is at work, or if a suspect's human rights might be violated.
The judge in the Yukos case stated that he was "satisfied there is a substantial risk that the judges of the Moscow City Court would succumb to political interference." That makes the ruling appropriate, in Bowring's opinion. "I was the expert witness in the case. But I am a barrister as it happens, and I think it was a very good decision," Bowring says.
Defenders of jailed former Yukos boss Mikhail Khodorkovskii immediately hailed the U.K. verdict as a "momentous decision" and further evidence that the Yukos prosecutions are being directed from the Kremlin.
Russian authorities argued that Maruev and Chernysheva conspired in 1997 to use false contracts to defraud a regional authority of some $2.6 billion. They were also accused of conspiring with Khodorkovskii to defraud the state.
While applicant countries for such extraditions are not required to actually prove the guilt of the suspects involved, legal experts say that Russia's position in a British court was never easy. Jane Henderson, a lecturer in law at London's Kings College, says extradition requests of this kind usually require a lot of evidence. "If it's [a request from] within the EU, then there is a fast track, a different procedure, and basically there is no consideration of evidence. But if it's a request for extradition [to a state] outside the EU, then a lot of evidence would need to be considered -- especially if it's in a case where [the suspects] haven't even been arrested or convicted," Henderson says.
Russian authorities have not raised any formal protests against the ruling.
Bowring says such an appeal would be unlikely to succeed, since the Russian side did not call witnesses to defend against charges of political motivation. "Both sides invited the judge to make a ruling on these issues, and the Russian government didn't call any experts to say that there was no political motivation or that there was no discrimination. In those circumstances it would seem to be very difficult for them to complain," Bowring says.
Henderson adds that Moscow could only dispute the ruling on technical grounds. "The appeal would be to the Administrative Court, which is the divisional court of the High Court. But it would be on the basis that the decision taken was wrongly done -- judicial review of the sort of process by which this decision was taken. For instance, this happened in the case of General [Augusto] Pinochet [of Chile] being extradited. His team appealed whether the judge had acted properly and applied the right criteria," Henderson says.
"The Times" of London quoted a British member of parliament suggesting before the most recent decision that another extradition snub would seriously harm already strained relations between Downing Street and the Kremlin.
Whatever the effect on bilateral relations of the 25 March Yukos verdict, Russian authorities are also seeking the extradition of a third suspect. Aleksandr Gorbachev is due to appear before the same London court in April.” (RFE/RL, 30 March 2005)
Generally: Statement of Amnesty International on the proceeding against persons affiliated with Yukos
In a statement issued in April 2005, Amnesty International is of the opinion that a political context exists to the process against persons associated with YUKOS, namely Mikhail Khodorkovskii, Platon Lebedev, Aleksei Pichugin, Svetlana Bakhmina andYelena Agranovskaia, and mentions shortcomings in medical care in the cases of Platon Lebedev, Aleksei Pichugin and Svetlana Bakhmina and allegations concerning the ill-treatment of Aleksei Pichugin and Svetlana Bakhmina while in detention:
“Amnesty International takes the view that there is a significant political context to the arrest and prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovskii, former head of the YUKOS company, and other individuals associated with YUKOS.
The human rights organization recognizes the significance of the case which has been accompanied by numerous reports of violations of international fair trial standards and health concerns with regard to some of the accused. Amnesty International acknowledges the widespread perception among the defendants' lawyers, Russian human rights organizations and other analysts that the cases are politically motivated and has written to the Ministry of Justice and to the Procurator General of the Russian Federation raising concerns related to the arrest and prosecution and detention of Mikhail Khodorkovskii, Platon Lebedev, his business partner, Aleksei Pichugin, a former security official for YUKOS, Svetlana Bakhmina, a senior lawyer for YUKOS andYelena Agranovskaia.Amnesty International has urged the Russian authorities to respect its obligations under international human rights law in these cases, including Article 14 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In its letters to the Ministry of Justice and the Procurator General, concerns raised by Amnesty International included reported interference in client-lawyer access and communication in the cases of Mikhail Khodorkovskii and Platon Lebedev, the closed nature of court proceedings, in particular in the case of Aleksei Pichugin, the continued detention of Mikhail Khodorkovskii and Platon Lebedev in an investigation-isolation prison (SIZO) in the investigation and trial stages, alleged shortcomings in medical care in the cases of Platon Lebedev, Aleksei Pichugin and Svetlana Bakhmina, allegations concerning the ill-treatment of Aleksei Pichugin and Svetlana Bakhmina while in detention, and the detention of Aleksei Pichugin in Lefortovo, a detention facility under the jurisdiction of the Federal Security Service (FSB).” (AI, 11 April 2005)
Information on supporters of Khodorkovskii
“On 16 May police allegedly arbitrarily detained supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovskii who had complied with police instructions to stop demonstrating outside the court building in Moscow at 2pm by taking down their placards, but had remained in the area. Police allegedly roughly dragged demonstrators to a police bus, and used fists and batons to hit those individuals who resisted arrest. There were further reports of arbitrary detentions of supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovskii on 17 May. While the state has the right to regulate public meetings and demonstrations, Amnesty International urges the Russian authorities to ensure that the right of all sides peaceably to demonstrate is impartially respected and fulfilled by all state officials, including the police. The reported use of force by the police to disperse the demonstrators, and allegations of arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by the police should be effectively investigated. Anyone identified as responsible for any violations found in the course of investigations should be brought to justice in accordance with international standards.” (AI, 31 May 2005)
“RUSSIA, Moscow. On 17 June, Justice of Peace Oksana Kirilina of Meshchansky Court dismissed cases against Andrey Skoloubovich, Dmitry Skolkov, Mikhail Krigher, Yevgheny Doubeikovsky, Igor Gourevich and Nikolai Fesenko seeing no wrongdoing in their actions. They were arrested on 16 May as they staged a picket in support of the Yukos members on trial. Militia reports claimed that supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev allegedly took part in an unauthorized picket.
Witness Dmitry Milovidov and protesters he arrested on 16 May, told the court that after the action had finished all the placards and slogans were put away. However, many protesters were detained. Militia officers did not introduce themselves or gave any explanations as they carried out arrests. Igor Gourevich told the court that the reports had been written by officers other than those who carried out the arrests. The militiamen summoned to the trial as witnesses failed to give any evidence relevant to the case. One of them stood in the cordon and didn’t take part in arrests, the other failed to recognise the protesters present in the courtroom. Some of the militiamen couldn’t be traced. The case against Yelena Batenkova who was also detained on 16 May had been dismissed earlier by magistrate Kirilina.
Vadim Prokhorov and Olga Mikhailova representing the protesters told PRIMA-News correspondent that other protesters’ cases were adjourned until 22 and 29 June. The case of Yelena Batenkova who is accused of organising unauthorised picket outside Meshchansky Court on 30 May will be heard on 29 June.” (Prima News Agency, 20 June 2005)
“RUSSIA, Moscow. Ivan Starikov, member of the Federal Political Council of the Union of Right Forces (URF) party, was attacked on the night of 28 October by unknown assailants. The assault took place in the apartment block where he lives as he was returning home from a hockey training session. The politician suffered injuries and lost several teeth. The assailants did not take money or any of his possessions.
Ivan Starikov didn’t rule out that the attack was linked to the fact that he had supported Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s candidature to run for the State Duma, URF press service reports. The Union of Right Forces expressed anger in connection with the vicious assault on Ivan Starikov. "We are convinced that the incident was directly linked with his political activities," says the statement by the Presidium of the party’s Federal Political Council.
The statement demands that Moscow law enforcement agencies carried out immediate and effective inquest into the incident.
The statement says that URF members in Moscow City Duma and the State Duma will do all they can to punish this crime.
The assault on Ivan Starikov is yet another evidence demonstrating that the state cannot cope with its duty: it is incapable of ensuring security of its citizens. The question of whether or not high-ranking officials of the law enforcement bodies are suited to their posts has been imminent for a long time, the document’s authors stress.” (Prima News Agency, 31 October 2005)
Asylum procedures of people related to Yukos in Israel and the USA
Among the sources consulted by ACCORD no information could be found whether any persons affiliated with Yukos have got asylum in Israel or the United States.
As our mandate is limited to research on countries of origin, we are not in the position to provide you with information on receiving countries of asylum seekers, but we would like to refer you to the following information:
As mentioned above, RFE/RL announced on 27 July 2004 that Yukos major shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, who is wanted on charges including murder and attempted murder, is an Israeli citizen and currently lives in Israel (RFE/RL, 27 July 2004).
RIA Novosti states in its “Timeline: Yukos” that on 25 November 2004 all Yukos' top executives are reported to have left Russia, apparently fearing arrest (RIA Novosti, 28 November 2005). 
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the ACCORD within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Mikhail Khodorkovskii and Platon Lebedev
Proceeding against other leading Yukos employees, shareholder and lawyers
Generally: Statement of Amnesty International on the proceeding against persons affiliated with Yukos
Supporters of Khodorkovskii

Asylum procedures of people related to Yukos in Israel and the USA