Limitless Horror: Yukos Exec Chained to Hospital Bed

alexanyan021808.jpgThe former Yukos general counsel Vasily Alexanyan (Aleksanyan, Alexanian) has been through a lot. After months of medical blackmail by the Russian government, during which time prosecutors ignored three separate orders from the European Court of Human Rights in order to force false testimony against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the political prisoner was left nearly completely blind, his health destroyed, infected with AIDS, and suffering from cancer and tuberculosis. The Alexanyan case is arguably one of the most disgusting willful violations of human rights we have seen committed this year.

Following a hunger strike by Khodorkovsky in his support and an unprecedented level of media attention and international outrage, Alexanyan was finally whisked away to clinic to receive treatment. However, the situation has not improved by much. According to the latest reports, they keep him chained to the hospital bed like an animal, providing substandard unsanitary care.

His lawyer Drew Holiner stated the following in a Reuters report earlier today: “It’s like they’re trying to punish him for speaking out. By chaining him to a bed they’re treating him like an animal, it’s inhumane. He needs to have a shower every day, he isn’t.”

“The 24-hour manacle is hardly ever removed and Mr. Alexanian, who can walk, is forced to undertake all personal hygiene in bed.

It’s completely unconscionable what they’re doing, rather than improve the situation, as required by the European Court, they’ve put him in worse conditions, apart from starting the medical treatment.”

We shall continue to monitor the situation closely. All media inquiries should be directed to Drew Holiner.

UPDATE: A translated press release on the situation from

18 February 2008

Fatally ill Vasily Aleksanyan shackled to bed with a chain

On Saturday – the ninth day after hospitalization – lawyer Gevorg Dangyan was finally able to get through to see Vasily Aleksanyan.Vasily Aleksanyan is being treated under guard in the 60th city hospital: the window of the small hospital room is nailed up with a grille from the inside, above the bed is situated an observation camera, right next to the bed is a round-the-clock security post. “But this turned out to be not enough, they have also attached him with a chain to the bed,” tells lawyer Yelena Lvova. “By the arm they shackle him. As Aleksanyan said, they took the chain off only before the arrival of the lawyer”.There is no shower in the room, there is a communal one on the floor. During the time of sojourn in the hospital, they have led Aleksanyan to the shower twice. When the lawyers will be able to see their client next time is unknown, because permission for each visitation needs to be obtained in the «Matrosskaya tishina» SIZO, while the first permission there they gave out only on the night day after the transfer to the hospital. “Compared with the SIZO the conditions have deteriorated”, worries Yelena Lvova. “There we at least saw him every day”.

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