Karinna Moskalenko Safe, For Now

RIA Novosti reports that the Moscow Bar Association has refused to disbar Karinna Moskalenko, who faced charges of “failing to defend” Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Qualifications panel refuses to disbar Khodorkovsky lawyer MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) – The qualifications commission of the Moscow Bar Association rejected prosecutors’ request to recommend that a lawyer for jailed Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky be disbarred, the lawyer in question said Friday. The bar association will consider Karina Moskalenko’s disbarment June 21. “The qualifications commission found no reason to impose a disciplinary punishment on me and recommended to the Moscow Bar Association that I not be disbarred,” Moskalenko said. Prosecutors have accused Moskalenko of failing to provide a proper defense for Khodorkovsky during criminal proceedings against him by failing to visit him. “Today, an official from the Prosecutor General’s Office firmly insisted that I violated Khodorkovsky’s right to a defense, but in reality it is the prosecutor’s office which violated his rights,” Moskalenko said. The founder of the once best-run crude producer, Yukos, who financed opposition parties and was said to be pursuing personal political ambitions, was convicted in May 2005 and has been serving an eight-year jail term near Chita, Siberia. In mid-December, he was transferred to a pretrial detention center in Chita to face new money laundering charges. Moskalenko said the prosecutors’ disbarment request prevented her from attending hearings on a defense appeal against a court ruling to extend Khodorkovsky’s custody. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on Russian prosecutors Thursday to stop pursuing Moskalenko, and said the campaign was nothing but harassment. Moskalenko is not the first of Khodorkovsky’s lawyers to be threatened with disbarment. In 2005, prosecutors requested that the bar associations of Moscow and St. Petersburg disbar five lawyers of the jailed tycoon, but the requests were not granted. Yukos, once Russia’s largest oil company, was declared bankrupt in August 2006 after three years of litigation with tax authorities. Yukos’s key assets have been auctioned off to state-run oil company Rosneft.