Dmitry Muratov Visits the Khodorkovsky Trial


Below is a translation from of the highly regarded journalist Dmitry Muratov’s experience visiting the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  Earlier this year President Dmitry Medvedev granted an interview to Muratov and Novaya Gazeta, in a move that was interpreted as a reinforcement of liberal credentials.

D. Muratov: “This is no way to treat an open trial”
12 May 2009 17:47

Dmitry Muratov listened attentively to the prosecution evidence. And didn’t hear a thing.

I don’t understand why the prosecution doesn’t respect the High Court. After all, in our country, in accordance with the Constitution, with our legislation, a trial is adversarial, it is open, but instead of this, the two procuratrixes were reading materials of the bill of indictment that concern contracts in monotonous voices that were absolutely inaudible to anybody in the courtroom. In so doing, what I was able to make out sounded like this: «were found in collateral, but were not encumbered by debts». Well then, either the one phrase or the other. Together is impossible.

This is read especially in such a way so that people wouldn’t hear. Sothat people would drop dead. Several flies dropped dead before my eyes.I express my sympathies to them. This is no way to treat an open trialand this is no way to treat a judge. Perhaps the judge, of course, didhear – they were sitting closer to him, after all – but in thecourtroom you couldn’t hear a thing. Nothing! What aren’t there enoughmicrophones in the country for the state prosecution?!

I spoke with some ten total strangers today, and asked what they had heard. We didn’t hear a thing, the people replied.