Federal Drug Control Agency unexpectedly decides not to extend custody of seriously ill Margarita Charykova

3 April 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
On 4 April at 2:00 pm the Savyolovsky District Court of Moscow was due to consider a motion filed by the investigation team to extend the detention in custody of Margarita Charykova, 25. However, today the Federal Drug Control Agency unexpectedly withdrew its own motion. This news was reported by the Agora Human Rights Association, quoting lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina, who, at the request of Agora, is representing the interests of Margarita Charykova. Meanwhile, Charykova's period of detention is due to expire on 12 April.

"Vyacheslav Sagitov, Investigator at Department 3 of the Moscow Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Agency, invited me on 5 April to his office with regard to the conduct of the investigation," says lawyer Sidorkina. "Of these, the only ones remaining are the bringing of final charges and familiarisation with the case materials. By the look of things, after the European Court of Human Rights asked the Russian government to provide information on the medical condition and treatment of Charykova in the pre-trial detention centre, and also after the urgent summoning of the investigator to the Federal Drug Control Agency, which even forced him to cancel the bringing of final charges on 1 April, the investigators are trying to rid themselves of this case and absolve themselves of responsibility as quickly as possible.

"After all, the investigator has done practically nothing all this time to look after Margarita's health. The only time he has met with her was for procedural matters – to bring charges, to review the findings of experts and to extend her period of detention. Only once did he make inquiries at the pre-trial detention centre about the possibility of placing Charykova in a special isolation cell. He received the reply that since she her extremely rare condition was not on the special list she could presumably be kept in the pre-trial detention centre. The fact that not a single pre-trial detention facility in Moscow has a licence to provide coloproctology medical care, and as a consequence not a single detention cell in Moscow has a coloproctologist on the staff, did not unduly concern anyone. These facts alone are enough to prove that Margarita Charykova cannot be given the medical care she needs in the pre-trial detention centre, and she urgently needs to be transferred to a civilian hospital."

Yesterday it was reported that the European Court of Human Rights had asked the Russian government to provide information by 2 April 2013 about the medical condition and treatment of Margarita Charykova, who is being held in Pre-Trial Detention Center No. 4 in Moscow. Lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina was informed of this news by Registrar of the Court’s First Section, Søren Nielsen.

In March an urgent appeal was sent to the European Court of Human Rights to immediately release Margarita Charykova, 24, from detention, because her health and life were in danger. The disabled woman, who was born missing a vital part of the digestive system (the straight intestine), is being held in a pre-trial detention centre and, in her mother's words, is literally "rotting alive." Lawyer Sidorkina has requested the ECtHR to immediately release Charykova and force Russia to conduct a medical examination to establish that she has a serious illness that means she should not be kept in detention.

The young woman's mother Erika Kaminskaya said that her daughter was arrested on 11 December 2012 in Moscow by staff from the Federal Agency for Drug Control, who confiscated the drug Piracetam mixed with a homemade psychotropic amphetamine stimulant. She said that after numerous operations Margarita used the medicine independently as a painkiller, since she had suffered from terrible pain since birth.

On 12 December 2012 Margarita Charykova was charged with "preparing to sell narcotic drugs, psychotropic or similar substances" (Article 30, Section 1 & Article 228, Section 1, para 'G', of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). On 15 December, at the request of the investigators, the court ordered that she be remanded in custody and on the same day she was taken to the Pechatniki pre-trial detention centre.