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    Alexey Pichugin case in Live Journal
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    Free Pichugin! | 19 Jun 2016

    Radio LibertyVera Vasilieva, Radio Liberty: Newspapers dont write frequently about him, politicians are not in a rush to make statements about his situation either and civil society activists do not bring his posters on the streets of Russia. He is a political prisoner , Aleksey Pichugin, and today is the 13th anniversary of his arrest.

    Unfortunately, more and more tragedies have happened since then. The number of political prisoners is rising. In this last year The Human Rights Center «Memorial» published a new list, which shows the number of political prisoners increased by 37 people. In the meantime, there are no changes in Alekseys situation; society, including reporters, have forgotten about him. Unluckily, for Aleksey, his imprisonment seemed to be unremarkable in the view of news and broadcast coverage, creating a wall of silence surrounding his life story.

    Maybe, this information vacuum is indeed most horrifying; to be an unjustly condemned prisoner for thirteen years and experience no changes or evidence of possible justice to be restored? In the first case regarding Aleksey Pichugin, The European Court ruling on human rights pointed for the needs for judicial review solutions, it was not performed by the Russian Court. In the second case, The European Court only held communication , but the date for new proceedings on the merits is unknown. The duration of human life is measured now in terms of consideration of complaints in Strasbourg Court, not to mention the timing of execution of decisions of the respondent countries.

    During the time of the First Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the Commission on Pardons was productive and effective; now it is replaced by the complex hierarchical bureaucratic structure. Alexey Pichugins petition ( I would like to emphasize: the petition for pardon without admitting guilt), which was submitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin last November didnt even reach the Head of the State. The refusal was signed by a Governor of the Orenburg Region Yuri Berg.

    Why doesnt Putin himself pardon Pichugin? In my opinion, it may solve problems with the first case against Aleksey, and remaining open tensions between the Strasbourg Court, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, on the one hand, and Russia — on the other. As history has shown with Ukrainian prisoner Nadezhda Savchenko, Russian Justice does not require any admission of guilt (no matter what some Officials claim), nor even to hear the request of the convicted person. Presidential good will, acting exclusively on «Humanitarian grounds» are required according to the wording of these decrees. And I, honestly, would not be too curious about the true motives of such good will, if they differ from the stated documents.

    Why not exchange Alexei Pichugin, for example, for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, who is serving his sentence in the US prison? Back in 2011 this idea was expressed by former «Yukos» head of the Information and Analytic Department, Alexey Kondaurov. He wrote then, that the United States had the opportunity, theoretically, to finish the story of Viktor Bout (which is questionable from a legal point of view, anyway), ending in a humanitarian gesture, by offering to exchange this prisoner for wrongfully convicted Russian citizens, who are in Russia, in fact, the political prisoners. And now, it seems to me, that a Judge, who sentenced the Russian citizen Victor Bout to 25 years in prison, came to the conclusion that he was condemned according to the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. Besides that, in my opinion, right now, after the Hague District Court sided with Russia in a dispute over $ 50 billion, it would be a very practical way to pardon Alexei Pichugin which would greatly help to improve the image of Russia, and it would be an especially sophisticated move, in particular, for Vladimir Putin.

    On one hand, Russian Officials triumphing, regarding their final and permanent victory over Yukos in The Hague, but litigation continues. The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is the highest Arbitration Court, and in some Jurisdictions, its decisions are treated as an irrevocable ruling of the International Justice Act and cannot be dismissed by local courts of the country, where by coincidence, might resign one or another international tribunal. So, the Sword of Damocles, in the form of Property seizure, to secure $50 billion dollars debt (plus millions in penalties) will always hang over Russia and those risks cannot be ignored.

    On the other hand, if Russian Government already declared victory in the District Court of The Hague, it would be the best time for them, to pardon Aleksey Pichugin, in order not to suffer, in the future, from consequences of possible exchange of the hostage Aleksey Pichugin for money under the pressure from former Yukos owners and management.


  • 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»