Civil control over Khodorkovsky case

The "Khodorkovsky case" is on the final straight. The ball is now in the court of justice. The court is to answer the question whether Mikhail Khodorkovsky is guilty or innocent as far as the charges brought against him are concerned. And we emphasize that it is exceptionally important to watch how the Russian judicial system will handle this case.

Many people in Russia and abroad perceive a strong political motivation behind Khodorkovsky's criminal case. He openly opposed some economic moves of the Russian government, arousing discontent of high government officials and of the Russian president himself.

Moreover, Khodorkovsky made no secret of providing financial support to a number of oppositional political parties.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has defended the business people's right to take an independent stand as citizens. And that stand found its reflection in the social policy of YUKOS, the oil company of which he was the CEO. YUKOS was the first company to declare its aspiration for the transparency of the big business and to have made real steps in that direction.

The deliberate destruction of YUKOS, which has been the model company symbolizing the new Russian success and economic efficiency, Khodorkovsky's demonstrative arrest and incarceration, numerous violations of procedure during the investigation, transformation of the civil charges into the criminal ones, but, above all, the aggressive media campaign conducted by the authorities over many months already - all this does not dissipate but only strengthens confidence in the political nature of the Khodorkovsky case.

The ostensibly intimidating character of the actions of the Prosecutor General's Office and other departments and offices raises doubts about the fairness of the forthcoming court trial. It is not by chance that the new sarcastic term "Basmanny justice" (meaning "biased justice which favors the prosecution driven by political motives," the term is derived from the name of the Basmanny District Court in Moscow, notorious for such decisions) was born and took root in the contemporary Russian language in the course of the so-called "YUKOS case."

The need for a civil control over the Khodorkovsky case is obvious.

We declare that we will be narrowly watching the court trial, will thoroughly analyze and evaluate all actions and arguments of both sides. We will be informing the Russian and foreign public about all violations of law perceived during the trial. After the trial is over, we will try to give a detailed and well-considered evaluation of the entire "Khodorkovsky case" and will do everything we can to make this evaluation well heard and noticed.

We support the position of the Public Committee for the Fair Trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's case, who said that "no political circumstances can serve as a pardon discharging M. B. Khodorkovsky - or any other citizen - from amenability. Just as no State interests can authorize the abuse of justice for the sake of fight with political opponents".

We are convinced that a fair and law-based trial of this case serves not only the best interests of the Russian business but of the entire Russian society as well.

Independent courts are the mainstay of a law-based country and an essential condition for the development of a transparent, uncorrupted, and efficient economy, as well as the most important indication of democratic social relations.

We appeal to all people who are concerned about the future of the country to join the campaign of ”ivil ”ontrol over the case and trial. Watch, analyze and make your independent conclusions.

We are convinced that under a close and unyielding civil control the "Basmanny" justice principles will find it hard to triumph.

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