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Will President Medvedev Heed the Calls of Western Politicians?

Source: hro.org (info), 14/12/10

· Yukos Case · Political Prisoners

Marina Baranovskaya, Vadim Shatalin: Prominent foreign politicians have called on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to prove that Russia abides by the rule of law. In their opinion, the successful investigation of key legal cases would be a positive signal of change. The authors of the letter also stress that “stable and reliable partnerships with Russia can exist only where our fundamental common values are shared and applied: where human rights are protected, property rights are secure, and justice prevails over corruption.”

A group of well-known politicians from a number of European countries, the USA, and Israel have written an open letter to Russian President Dmitry Medevedev, calling on him to prove that Russia respects basic human rights and the rule of law. The letter was published on 14 December in the Financial Times.

Their letter stated: “You have in your words demonstrated your understanding that Russia’s place in the world depends in large part upon her robust respect for the rule of law and citizens’ fundamental human rights. As such, we believe that the conduct of the cases by the Russian judicial institutions of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, as well as investigating of the deaths of Sergey Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Stanislav Markelov and many others that seek justice in their own home country are of seminal importance in shaping the views of the outside world on Russia’s respect for the rule of law”.

The authors of the letter also emphasized that “stable and reliable partnerships with Russia can exist only where our fundamental common values are shared and applied: where human rights are protected, property rights are secure, and justice prevails over corruption”. The authors conclude their letter saying: “Ending the persecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and others related to the Yukos Affair, and finding justice for Sergey Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Stanislav Markelov and many other victims that seek justice in Russia, would send positive signals of change and show that Russia is indeed on the path towards modernisation. The world is watching very closely the outcomes of these cases on which so much rests for enhancing confidence in your great country”.

Signatories of the letter include: Malcolm Rifkind and David Miliband, former British ministers of foreign affairs; Bernard Kouchner and Hubert Vedrine, former French ministers of foreign affairs; Richard V. Allen, former United States National Security Advisor, and Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, former US Ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary; and Markus Löning, Human Rights Commissioner to the German Government. Deutsche Welle has reported that the day before in Berlin Markus Löning presented Khodorkovsky’s mother, Marina Filipovna, with an honorary medal named after Dr. Reiner Hildebrandt, awarded to her son for his activities in defence of human rights.
 
The defendants and their lawyers insist on an acquittal in the case.