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    Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: «Mr Pichugin may have fallen victim to the unrelenting campaign against all those related to Yukos» | 24 Jun 2009

    Sabine Leutheusser SchnarrenbergerStrasbourg, 23.06.2009  A report approved today by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has recommended a series of steps to boost the independence of judges across Europe to end what it calls «politically-motivated interference» in individual cases.

    The report, prepared by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Germany, ALDE), exposes ways that politicians can meddle with the law in four countries representing the principal types of criminal justice system in Europe, analysing high-profile cases such as the dropping of the BAE fraud investigation and «cash for honours» scandal in the United Kingdom, or the second Khodorkovsky trial, HSBC/Hermitage Capital case and Politkovskaya investigation in Russia.

    Mrs Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger about Alexey Pichugin Case

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    106. Another Yukos-related prosecution ended in a life sentence, almost completely unnoticed by the general public: that of Mr Alexey Pichugin, a head of division in Yukos internal security service, formerly a career KGB/FSB officer. In my 2005 report on «the circumstances surrounding the arrest and prosecution of leading Yukos officials», I described some apparent anomalies in the pre-trial proceedings against Mr Pichugin, which had then just begun. I was particularly worried about information according to which Mr Pichugin had been threatened with retaliation for refusing to give false testimony against senior Yukos executives, and that his trial would be held in total secrecy. I also reported on the testimony given by a lawyer acting on behalf of a man named Reshetnikov who, according to his lawyer, had been wrongfully convicted of the attempted murder, on behalf of Yukos, of a businessman named Rybin, who had in reality fabricated the assassination attempt for the purposes of promoting his interests in a lawsuit against Yukos in Austria. Mr Reshetnikov had at the time been transferred to Lefortovo prison, where he was reportedly offered a «deal» of freedom against false testimony against Yukos officials. On the advice of his lawyer, who also described to me the difficulties he had had to gain access to his client, Mr Reshetnikov, at the time, refused to accept this «deal».

    During my recent visit to Moscow, a young woman introducing herself as Mr Pichugins «public defender» handed me a paper summing up the case of her client. I was rather taken aback when I saw that, according to this paper, Mr Pichugin was sentenced for, inter alia, the attempted murder of Mr Rybin on the strength of two pieces of evidence: the testimony of Mr Reshetnikov, and a handwritten note found in Mr Pichugins apartment with Mr Rybins address (Mr Pichugin denied that the note had been written by him, and the defence’s request for a graphological expertise had been denied by the court).

    Another troublesome element in Mr Pichugins trial is the way in which witness testimony was «completed» in the second attempt to overcome the doubts which led the Supreme Court to quash the first guilty verdict of 17 August 2006. In fact, in the first trial, Mr Reshetnikov had testified that he received the murder commission from Mr Pichugin and Mr Nevzlin via a (deceased) middleman. The defence had protested against the use of such «hearsay» evidence. In the second trial, the witnesses suddenly remembered that Mr Pichugin and Mr Nevzlin were themselves present at this conversation. Also, in the first trial, contradictions reportedly remained unresolved between the appearance of the (dark-haired) Mr Reshetnikov, accused of carrying out the murder in question, and numerous witnesses who had seen a blond person at the crime scene. In the second trial, Mr Reshetnikov and the other crown witness remembered for the first time that they were wearing blond wigs at the time.

    107. These elements, which I came across more or less by coincidence, make me fear that Mr Pichugin may have also fallen victim to the unrelenting campaign against all those related to Yukos and its leading executives.

    Sourse: assembly.coe.int


  • 14 years behind bars without fair trial. What did Strasbourg rule in the case of Pichugin?
  • Zoya Svetova: Who is it, Mikhail Savitsky, conducting an interrogation of Aleksey Pichugin
  • Alexey Pichugin: «I wrote a motion to have a visit from my mother»
  • Statement of Igor Viacheslavovuch Sutyagin
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: «An innnocent man, Alexey Pichugin, is still behind bars»
  • The European Court of Human Rights. CASE OF PICHUGIN v. RUSSIA. Judgment
  • Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger about Alexey Pichugin case
  • Leonid Nevzlins interview about the «case»
  • The «Amnesty International» is anxious about Alexey Pichugins condition

  • Trial of vengeance

  • Journalist Valeriy Shiryaev on the first case of Aleksey Pichugin in his book «Trial of vengeance. The first victim of the YUKOS case»
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