Gontmakher Fearing for His Life

Arkady Gontmakher is back in the news today with a Moscow Times interview drawing attention to his plight – stuck in pretrial detention with worsening health problems.  Originally arrested in November 2007 on charges of poaching and money laundering, Gontmakher has not yet been permitted to leave Russia, and has spent years in pre-trial detention.  After being cleared of the initial charges last December, he was promptly rearrested in a new case that, according to his lawyer, was ‘built on the same evidence that investigators have already presented in the previous trial.‘  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.
A lawyer for his family is quoted in the WSJ, saying that Russian legal codes call for the case to be tried within 18 months of detention, but that Gontmakher already has been imprisoned for more than 27 months.  In an interview with the Moscow Times today, the Global Fishing head says he fears for his life, raising the specter of Sergei Magnitsky.  The question of Gontmakher’s guilt is not the issue here, of course: criminal or not, his basic human rights are clearly being abused.

“I have suffered repeated heart attacks, and I don’t know for how long my heart will last.” […] He had no health problems to speak of when the case against him was opened in 2007, but now his lawyer expresses fears that Gontmakher may go the way of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital who died in 2009 of health problems he developed when placed in pretrial detention on murky charges.