December 12, 2005
119991, Moscow, Ul. Zhitnaya, No. 14
To: Yuri Ivanovich Kalinin
Federal Penitentiary Service
Dear Yuri Ivanovich:
In its ruling of September 22, 2005, the Moscow City Court upheld the judgment of the conviction of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky, former head of the YUKOS [oil company], and Platon Leonidovich Lebedev, former head of [international financial institution] MENATEP, whereby they were condemned to 8 years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony. We believe the judgment of conviction to be unlawful and unwarranted and we shall use whatever legal means are available to us to have this reviewed in a fair and unbiased process.
But it is equally important to us to ensure that the rights of of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev are observed during their detention in these penitentiaries. We believe that that is the task of all of us. Every citizen, including high-ranking officials, should be motivated to see that the penal system as a structure of the state is an element worthy of our Constitution, with principles of law and humanity above all, rather than a place in which tyranny rules and human rights are flouted.
In light of the above, we question the validity of the choice of location for Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev to serve out their sentences.
As you know, Platon Lebedev was taken [moved under guard by special travel arrangements] to an FGU [Federal State Institution] IK-3 [IK: corrective colony, short for corrective labor colony, i.e., labor camp] at the village of Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenets AO [autonomous okrug, i.e., district], situated beyond the Arctic Circle. However, the Russian Federation Justice Ministry No. 346/254 List of Medical Contraindications for the serving of sentences in certain parts of the Russian Federation by offenders sentenced to imprisonment, a list that was enacted under an Order of the Public Health Ministry of the Russian Federation, reads: "The medical contraindications for serving of sentences in: ... the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous okrug are: ...chronic recurrent and progressive conditions of the digestive organs (chronic active hepatitis...)".
We feel it necessary to draw your attention to the fact that Platon Lebedev suffers from serious chronic conditions, including hepatitis, which becomes acute on a regular basis. The diagnosis for Platon Lebedev has been confirmed by medical experts and documented several times.
Furthermore, Article 73 of the RF Correctional Code provides for the convicted offender to serve his or her sentence in the constituent territory of the federation in which he or she has been living or has committed the crime.
However, neither Lebedev nor Khodorkovsky has been sent to serve their sentences in a colony in Moscow or the Moscow Region (Khodorkovsky is currently in colony IK-10 (YaG 14/10) in the town of Krasnokamensk in the Chita region). The reason given is that the Moscow Region has no suitable colony at all, but this does not seem to us to be adequately convincing.
In light of the facts and statutes cited above, as well as in the name of protecting a fundamental human right – the right to life – we appeal to you to take into account the gravity of the medical condition of Platon Lebedev and look into whether it is possible to have him transferred to a penal colony with a more congenial climate, for example, one in Moscow or the Moscow Region.
We also urge you to change the penitentiary facility where Mikhail Khodorkovsky is being held for a colony in Moscow or the Moscow Region.
Sovest independent non-governmental group:
This appeal was joined by:
Ludmila Alekseeva, Helsinky Group, Moscow
Evgenia Albats, journalist, Moscow
Andrey Babushkin, member of the Council Representative at the Ministry of Justice, Moscow
Nikita Belykh, party SPS ("Union of the Right Forces"), Moscow
Evgeny Bounimovich, party "Yabloko", Moscow
Grigory Djibladze, Centre of the Democracy Development and Human Rights Protection, Moscow
Garri Kasparov, "Committee 2008", OGF ("United Civil Front"), Moscow
Alexey Kondaurov, deputy of State Duma, Moscow
Sergey Mitrokhin, party "Yabloko", Moscow
Alexey Navalny, party "Yabloko", Moscow
Boris Nadezhdin, party SPS ("Union of the Right Forces"), Moscow
Alexander Nikitin, ecologist, St. Petersburg
Elena Panfilova, Transparency International, Moscow
Sergey Parkhomenko, journalist, "Committee 2008", Moscow
Grigory Pasko, journalist, Russia
Georgy Saratov, Fond INDEM, Moscow
Olga Sedakova, writer, Moscow
Ivan Starikov, Democratic Party of Russia, Moscow
Boris Strugatsky, writer, St. Petersburg
Irina Khakamada, party "Nash Vybor" ("Our Choice"), Democratic Party of Russia, Moscow
Victor Shenderovich, writer, "Committee 2008", Moscow
Alexey Yablokov, party "Zelenaya Rossia" ("Green Russia"), Moscow
Grigory Yavlinsky, party "Yabloko", Moscow
Igor Yakovenko, General Secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, Moscow
Gleb Yakunin, priest, Moscow
The complete list of signatures is available here