Lebedev and Khodorkovsky Must Be Freed!

posted 3 Nov 2010, 10:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Nov 2010, 10:56 ]
Source: hro.org (info), 02/11/10

· Yukos Case · Political Prisoners

Statement by the participants in the public hearing: “The Second Trial of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev: the Verdict of Public Opinion”

The trial of Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Khamovniky district court has been going on for a year and a half. All this time a great many people of a wide range of views and life experience have conducted a public monitoring of the trial: academics, cultural figures and artists, human rights defenders, politicians, economists, journalists and simply citizens.

The hundreds of people who have followed the court process in the media, or have personally visited the court, have been unanimous in pointing out the absurdity of the trial. They have compared it to Kafka’s novel, The Trial. Observers heard no evidence that the accused were guilty as charged, but they did learn from the state prosecution that it is possible to steal all the oil extracted by a company in the course of six years, and at the same time make a profit and pay taxes; that to be the director of an enterprise is to be director of an organized criminal group; that to increase production and to strive to make a profit is a mercenary aspiration; and to pay dividends to shareholders is directly to bribe them. “You can’t do anything about it: we shall achieve everything we set out to do” – this is the slogan of the prosecution in this adversarial trial.

The absurdity of the charges and the absolutely transparent political nature of the trial, something that was so much a part of the Stalin show trials, appear even more flagrant against the background of the ritual condemnation by the country’s leadership of the repressions of the 1920s-1950s.

We know that a great many people have already been sentenced, or are currently in court and under investigation, in relation to cases, although less high profile, that are based on similarly trumped up charges. These cases are both “economic” and openly political. It has been the fate of the trial of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to become a symbol of all the lies and hypocrisy of the domestic system of justice.

But we do not consider ourselves doomed to put up with total bureaucratic corruption, the arbitrariness of the authorities and trumped up trials. We shall do everything in our power to obtain the release of Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Because today Khamovniky court is deciding not only the fate of two people, it is deciding the fate of Russia for many years to come.

We declare that any conviction of Lebedev and Khodorkovsky - whether the sentence is for one year or for five, or for 14 years as demanded by the prosecutor – will be the conviction of EVERYONE who believes in law and freedom, of EVERY honest businessmen, of ALL of us.

It is a direct and immediate accusation of ALL leaders of enterprises of organizing a criminal group, of ALL workers that they are participating in criminal organizations. A conviction means the burial of the last hopes for justice, modernization and democratic development in our country.

We are convinced that the courts of the future free Russia will not only rehabilitate all victims of trumped up charges, but will punish those who fabricated the charges and pushed them through various so-called courts.

We do not wish to lose the hope that we shall see a return to law in the Russian Federation. We hope that this return will begin with the acquittal of Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This is the chance to become a civilized state.

We call on the President of the Russian Federation, as guarantor of our constitutional rights and freedoms, to protect the Khamovniky court from the pressure of those forces that for obvious reasons have inspired this shameful trial.

We hope that the judgment of the court will be as just and true as the verdict of the court of public opinion: INNOCENT, ACQUITTED, FREE.

Boris Moiseevich Khodorkovsky
Marina Filippovna Khodorkovskaya
Ludmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, chair of the Foundation for the Protection of Prisoners’ Rights
Sergey Kovalev, Andrei Sakharov Fund
Lev Ponomarev, All-Russia Movement For Human Rights
Alla Gerber, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, writer
Valery Borshchev, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, member of the Bureau of the Yabloko party
Yury Ryzhov, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Dmitry Zimin, founder of the Vympelkom company and Dinastiya Foundation
Lia Akhedzhakova, actress
Oleg Basilashvili, actor
Fazil Iskander, writer
Nina Katerli, writer
Inna Churikova, actress
Pavel Lungin, film director
Alla Pokrovskaya, actress
Eldar Ryazanov, film director
Natalia Fateeva, actress
Igor Yasulovich, actor
Boris Zolotukhin, lawyer
Oleg Orlov, Memorial Human Rights Centre
Aleksei Simonov, chair of the Glasnost Defence Foundation
Vadim Prokhorov, lawyer
Boris Nemtsov, co-chair of the Federal Political Council of the Solidarity movement
Boris Vishnevsky, columnist of
Novaya gazeta, member of the bureau of the Yabloko party
Mikhail Shneider, executive secretary of the Federal Political Council of the Solidarity movement
Leonid Gozman, co-chair of the Right Cause party
Sergei Davidis, co-chair of the Moscow branch of the Solidarity movement
Sergei Aleksashenko, Professor, the Higher School of Economics
Andrei Piontkovsky, political scientist, publicist
Ernst Cherny, executive secretary of the Public Committee for the Defence of Scientists
Father Gleb Yakunin, Public Committee for Freedom of Conscience
Aleksandr Ryklin, editor-in-chief,
Daily journal
Lev Gudkov, director, Levada Centre
Violetta Gudkova, senior researcher, Institute of Art History
Ilya Yashin, member of the Bureau of the Solidarity movement
Aleksandr Kondaurov, member of the Political Council of the United Civic Front
Liliya Shibanova, executive director of the GOLOS Association
Sergei Lukashevsky, director of the Sakharov Museum and Public Centre
Olga Orlova, Chelyabinsk
Rights in Russia,
3 Nov 2010, 10:50