In regards to the preliminary investigation, Yuri Schmidt, counsel to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, issued the attached statement.
STATEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE COMPLETION OF THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION In their statements, complaints, and petitions, the lawyers for M.B. Khodorkovsky and P.L. Lebedev have on many occasions noted the unlawfulness of their transfer to Chita and the conducting of investigative actions in that city, and demonstrated that this grossly violates the rights of the accuseds, including the right to a defense. Being obligated under any circumstances to carry out their professional duty, and in an attempt to minimize the negative impact for our clients, we have appealed numerous times to the head of the investigative group of the Procuracy-General of the RF with a request to present us in a timely manner with a timetable for the conducting of investigative actions, considering that the distance of Chita from Moscow and St. Petersburg requires advance planning of journeys. In doing this, we notified the investigative group that we are compelled to establish a rotation for our presence in Chita. For a while, we had the impression that they had reacted to this request with understanding. However, the reasonable timetable that was announced began to be violated immediately: either right in Chita we would be notified on the eve of departure of the continuation of investigative actions, or notifications about their conducting would be sent within time frames that ruled out the possibility of arriving by the date indicated. Thus, a notification about the conducting of investigative actions from 10:00 AM on 31 January 2007 was sent to St. Petersburg by fax… at 20:27 in the evening on 30 January. On 6 February, the continuation of investigative actions for another week was announced to us at the end of the work day in the Chita investigative isolator (despite the fact that the previously announced deadline was to end on 7 February), while on 8 February we were notified that the investigative actions would continue through 3 March 2007, inclusive. On 16 February, when none of the out-of-town lawyers that make up the main defense team for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were in Chita, they were suddenly notified – once again violating the previously announced timetable – that all investigative actions had been completed and that the case was moving on to the next stage – the presentation of the gathered materials to the accuseds. And that the materials would be presented the very next day, 17 February 2007 (which, just as a matter of fact, happens to be a Saturday). Article 215 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation demands that the defenders of the accused be notified of the completion of investigative actions; moreover, if they “can not appear at the appointed time for valid reasons”, familiarization with the case is to be postponed for a period of up to 5 days. Fax notifications were sent to the lawyers in St. Petersburg and Moscow on 16 February. The investigation knew perfectly well that none of us had the physical ability to arrive in Chita the next day; therefore, I evaluate the announcement that familiarization with the case materials was to begin on 17 February not even as the latest violation of the rights of the accuseds, but as sheer mockery. It will be remembered that the transfer of the accuseds to Chita was initially explained by the need to conduct individual investigative actions with them, although it was perfectly obvious that there was no necessity (not to mention legal grounds) to conduct these in Chita. Nevertheless, only intensifying the lawlessness, on 3.02.07 the deputy Procurator-General of the RF, V.Ya. Green, issued a decree on the determination of Chita as the place of the preliminary investigation. Since 2003, the investigation has been taking place in Moscow. All procedural decisions were adopted, interrogations, searches, and seizures conducted, and expert studies appointed and carried out in Moscow. And it was in Moscow that the decrees declaring Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to be accuseds were issued. So why was it that on 3.02.07, the preliminary investigation, which has been going on in Moscow for several years, was transferred to Chita two weeks before its completion? My previous press statement says that according to the decree of the deputy Procurator-General, this was done pursuant to Art. 152 of the CCP RF “with the aim of ensuring fullness, objectivity, and compliance with procedural deadlines”. That same statement offers an analysis proving that the transfer of the investigation from Moscow to Chita did not meet a single one of these conditions, but pursued entirely different objectives. But even if we allow that during the time of the preliminary investigation, it was specifically and only in Chita (for two weeks out of 3 and a half years!) that “fullness, objectivity, and compliance with procedural deadlines” could be ensured, then today, when the investigative actions have been completed, the Procuracy-General no longer has any grounds to allude to these contrived reasons any more. Furthermore, if it truly is concerned about “compliance with procedural deadlines”, then it is perfectly obvious that familiarization with the case materials in Moscow will have a most beneficial effect on such compliance, inasmuch it will take significantly less time than in Chita. In the next few days, the defense will file a petition on this matter, and if it is denied (which is difficult to doubt), then all the masks behind which the power has been attempting to conceal its true objectives will have been removed once and for all. It will become perfectly clear that the power intends to conduct the trial in Chita as well, where – considering the circumstances, which it is still premature to talk about – it will be absolutely impossible to conduct a fair and objective trial and ensure even a formal observance of the rights of the accuseds. — Yuri Schmidt