Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

24 May 2011

Russian businessmen declared prisoners of conscience after convictions are upheld

Russian businessmen declared prisoners of conscience after convictions are upheld

Amnesty International has declared Russian businessmen Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev prisoners of conscience after the two men’s convictions on money laundering were today upheld by a Moscow court.

The Moscow City Court reduced the sentences of the two men from 13 ½ years’ imprisonment to 12 but failed to address any of the serious procedural violations that have marred the criminal proceedings from the outset of the investigation.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s first convictions there can no longer be any doubt that their second trial was deeply flawed and politically motivated,” said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia. 

“For several years now these two men have been trapped in a judicial vortex that answers to political not legal considerations.  Today’s verdict makes it clear that Russia’s lower courts are unable, or unwilling, to deliver justice in their cases.”

“The Supreme Court offers the last possible hope for justice.  Their convictions must be overturned and the two men released on the expiry of their current sentences”.

Following the conviction of the two men on 27 December 2010, Amnesty International expressed grave concerns over the timing of charges, the harassment of lawyers and witnesses and procedural violations including the exclusion of evidence that might have exonerated the defendants, and the denial of the right to examine and cross examine witnesses. 

The organization concluded that their convictions were unsafe and called for them to be overturned on appeal.

“The failure of the appeal court to address the fundamental flaws in the second trial and the fact that Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev have already spent eight years in jail on barely distinguishable charges, points to the conclusion that their second convictions have been sought for political reasons relating purely to who they are,” said Nicola Duckworth.

“These two men must be released after their current sentences expire on 25 October and 2 July respectively.”

Issue

Detention 
Prisoners Of Conscience 
Trials And Legal Systems 

Country

Russian Federation 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

22 July 2014

The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations, Amnesty International said as it... Read more »

24 July 2014

The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
24 July 2014

Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International... Read more »

21 July 2014

Ahead of a legal intervention by Amnesty International and others in the rendition case of the Libyan national Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, Amnesty International... Read more »