The Karinna Moskalenko Incident

Firstly I need to apologize to all my readers for having been away from the blog all day. I had a long flight from Europe to North America today, but not before I was in contact with many people asking about Karinna Moskalenko, one of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyers whose persecution has been carefully documented on this blog. Karinna is a dear friend and trusted colleague of mine, so obviously I am extremely concerned about the news from Strasbourg. I do want to reassure everyone that I have spoken with her several times today, and that she and her children do not appear to be in mortal danger. Very soon I expect we can hear Karinna speak for herself on these events, and we plan to be among the first to report the news to you. For now, below I post excerpts from the Reuters report:

A Russian human rights lawyer whose clients have included leading Kremlin opponents said Tuesday that she had found poisonous mercury in her car in France and believed it may have been a warning to her. Karinna Moskalenko told Ekho Moskvy, a radio station in Moscow, that the incident had prevented her from travelling to Moscow to take part in the trial of three suspected accomplices in the 2006 murder of the journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya. “People do not put mercury in your car to improve your health,” Moskalenko, who spends much of her time in the French city of Strasbourg, told the radio station. “I am very concerned because there were children in that car.”

Mercury is an element that occurs naturally but exposure to high levels can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, immune and nervous systems.A high level of exposure in metallic form – most commonly by breathing in vapor – can lead to death, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.”I think it may have been a demonstration because there was lots of it,” Moskalenko said, referring to the mercury. “How could you not notice it?” She did not say who she thought might have been responsible.