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Platon Lebedev Statement

Earlier today the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg issued a ruling which found that the Russian government had violated the rights of a Yukos manager on five counts. Below is a statement from Platon Lebedev’s Defense Team:

It is symbolic that the European Court on Human Rights has issued the first of its decisions on the ECHR applications that had been filed in the Khodorkovsky/Yukos case on the fourth anniversary of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s arrest. Today’s decision by the European Court on Human Rights is an important victory for rule of law and human rights in Russia, and it is also important for Platon Lebedev personally. It conclusively demonstrates that the Russian authorities have been guilty—from the very beginning—of grave legal misconduct in their prosecution of Mr. Lebedev and others arrested and deprived of justice in connection with the so-called YUKOS Affair. The scope of today’s judgment is limited to the pre-trial period, and therefore the European Court found that Mr. Lebedev’s rights under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights were systematically violated by the Russian authorities literally from the very first day of his arrest and detention on July 3, 2003. Among other findings of serious misconduct by the Russian authorities, the Court found that Mr. Lebedev had been at various times illegally detained; that his lawyers were improperly denied access to the court hearing on his initial detention; and that there were serious procedural flaws involving delays in judicial reviews of appeals against the extension of his pre-trial detention. It should be noted that this is only the first of several applications brought to the European Court by Mr. Lebedev, by Mr. Lebedev’s business partner and close friend Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and by YUKOS itself. While this petition dealt only with issues related to Mr. Lebedev’s pre-trial incarceration, other applications ask the ECHR to rule on the fairness of Mr. Lebedev’s trial and the political nature of the charges brought against him and Mr. Khodorkovsky. We are pleased that the Russian Federation considers the decision in the Lebedev case to be of great importance, raising serious issues of significance for all of Europe, as witnessed by the announcement by the RF that it intends to appeal the decision by invoking Art. 44 of the Convention. By way of explanation, Art. 44 para 2 allows a decision to be appealed only when a serious question concerning the interpretation or application of provisions of the Convention or its Protocols, or another serious question of a general nature, is at issue. We call on the Russian authorities to respect today’s judgment, which will have far-reaching implications, and to cease the unlawful persecution of innocent people. Fairness demands that both Mr. Lebedev and Mr. Khodorkovsky, who have now served half their sentences and whose basic rights the ECHR has found to have been systematically violated, should be freed from prison immediately and allowed to return to their families and homes in Russia, where they wish to continue to live and work, making their contribution to the economic and political future of the Russian people. Platon Lebedev’s defence team