Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (25 July) on the judgement by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Mikhail Khordorkovsky and Platon Lebedev v. Russia:
Today, the European Court of Human Rights once again established that the trials in Russia against Khordorkovsky and Lebedev were not conducted with due process of law. They were not allowed to exercise their rights as defendants and should therefore both be released immediately.
In its ruling, the court finds that proceedings in 2004 2005 were conducted with a lack of respect for the rule of law. The current high number of proceedings against dissidents shows that the situation regarding the rule of law has unfortunately not improved in the meantime. Russia must finally live up to its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.
On 25 July, the European Court of Human Rights found that Russia had violated the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in its proceedings against former businessman Mikhail Khordorkovsky. The court criticized the unfair taking and examination of evidence by the trial court and breaches of the lawyer client confidentiality. The ECHR ordered Russia to pay Khordorkovsky 10,000 euros in damages.
Khordorkovsky was sentenced to an eight year prison term for tax evasion in 2005. In a second trial, he was handed down another six years in prison for fraud. Critical observers see the trials as politically motivated. Thursday’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights dealt with the first trial in 2004 and 2005.