The support group for Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other defendants in the YUKOS case

     

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 PETITION

Statement of the 'Sovest' group in defense of Mikhail Khodorkovsky

We are addressing all people for whom the notions of 'justice' and 'fair trial' still retain their primary meaning and have not become the object of political gambling, to all people who want to live in a democratic Russia, a country based on the rule of law, with a developed market economy.

Today, we are witnessing a wide-scale operation staged by Russian law-enforcement agencies and the Prosecutor Generalís Office and clearly aimed at the destruction of Russiaís largest private company that has had every opportunity of becoming the fourth major oil company in the world. The attempt to ruin YUKOS will definitely throw Russia far back both in economic and political terms.

Notwithstanding the allegations of those behind the attack against YUKOS that they are investigating the past acts of 'Khodorkovskyís organized group', the scale of the persecutions goes far beyond the charges brought against the company and its shareholders. In this well-orchestrated campaign, various government bodies and law-enforcement agencies, from the Prosecutor Generalís Office and the Department of Justice to the Department of Tax and Inland Revenue and the Department of Natural Resources, are acting in perfect unity and in accord with each other. It is absolutely impossible to believe that all these organizations brought charges against YUKOS at the same moment by pure coincidence.

The persecutions against the companyís managers and shareholders are accompanied by propaganda campaign in certain media on the idea of 'expropriating the oligarchs from their possessions', in other words, the redistribution of private property, which certainly contributes to kindling social conflicts. We view it as extremely dangerous that certain representatives of official authorities and various political associations are trying to provoke and intensify such trends within the public opinion.

Brutal force and pressure, threats and blackmail are the methods used against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other managers of the company. The country as a whole and Russian civil society are still lacking objective and full information about what is going on in the Khodorkovsky trial. If for so many years he has been effectively violating law, evading taxes, etc., as the authorities allege, why are they so frightened of an open court hearing? Why was a court hearing in Basmanny District Court scheduled for Monday 22 December only announced on the Friday evening before Ė virtually at the last moment, depriving Khodorkovskyís lawyers of any reasonable opportunity to adequately prepare for it?

The recourse to such methods leaves no doubt that the Prosecutor Generalís Office does not possess proper evidence to prove the culpability of the YUKOS former head. We are convinced of the political motivations behind the Khodorkovsky trial. We can assert with all certainty that the formal charges brought against Khodorkovsky result from the intention of the powers that be to exercise rough justice against the independent businessman who refused to bend to the Kremlinís orders like so many of his counterparts. In our opinion, Khodorkovskyís trial with all the attending circumstances strongly discredits Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermines the democratic institutions of Russia and the very idea of democracy.

We call for an open and adversary trial of Khodorkovskyís case and the cases brought against other YUKOS employees, in the presence of the media and representatives of the general public. Only an open jury trial will help restore public trust in the official authorities. Otherwise, the latter will create a dangerous precedent of selective use of law with respect to citizens unwelcome to them or opposition-minded.

We want Russia to be a country where everyone is protected by law, but the brutal force methods used in the Khodorkovsky case have weakened this hope. For this reason, we are addressing all people who value freedom and democracy and want to see that human rights are respected in Russia. Think hard about what is going on; try to understand that the latest developments around YUKOS are closely affecting all of us. Try to find a way to express your protest against the violations of law and the authoritiesí disregard of the rights of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and, consequently, of the rights of all Russian citizens.

dated Dec. 12, 2003

 

the SOVEST group

our position

petition

we

the YUKOS case

Russia on Trial

victims

opinions

what you can do

 

 

how to contact us

 

 

 

 

*    contact@sovest.org

( 7 (095722-8477  Moscow

( 8  (050)  316 -1626    Odessa

* kras58@mail.ru          Odessa

 

Sovest  ('conscience', 'integrity' in Russian),
an independent public group, was created Dec. 3, 2003,
to provide public support to the YUKOS shareholders and employees. Our principal purpose is to make the authorities respect civil rights of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other defendants in the YUKOS case.
The main goal of the group today is to use all legal means insisting that victims of the Yukos case be released from incarceration, and to claim an impartial, open and fair trial.
The group is non-commercial and totally independent from any political or financial affiliations. All activities are conducted on a voluntary and gratuitous basis.

 

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