Public appeal concerning the Lebedev-Khodorkovsky case

подписиAn appeal "Stop the disgraceful farce!", adopted at the Public Hearings "Six years of imprisonment of Khodorkovsky-Lebedev:  a crisis of power, the judicial system, society?", which took place on 23 October 2009 in the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Centre, was made public on 2 November. It is addressed to the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia Viacheslav Lebedev, President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, president of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the RF Yevgeny Semenyako, as well as the President of the RSPP Alexander Shokhin and chairman of «Delovaya Rossiya» Boris Titov.  Several hundred signatures have already been gathered under the appeal, first and foremost those of participants in the public monitoring of the Lebedev – Khodorkovsky trial.  The process of gathering signatures continues.



Below is the text of the appeal in its entirety:


Stop the disgraceful farce!

An appeal by participants in the public monitoring of the Lebedev - Khodorkovsky trial

Heeding the call of the International Committee for the Protection of Russian Political Prisoners, people of the most varied views and professions have taken part in public monitoring of the trial of Lebedev and Khodorkovsky.

Many of them have publicly expressed their most vivid impressions, speaking about the flagrant absurdity, a trial Kafkaesque in spirit, the mockery of justice.

When this trial was being prepared, we were aware of the contrived nature and absurdity of the charges being laid of the theft of hundreds of millions of tonnes of oil..  Therefore, it was very important to bring the attention of the public and to make an object of openness those violations of the law, those subterfuges, by which this farce is going to be accompanied.

Unfortunately, reality did not deceive our expectations,  and now continuing in the Khamovnichesky Court is something which, without particular exaggeration, can be called a public debasement of justice.  At the stage of the presentation of evidence, for many months in a row representatives of the state prosecution were reading out arbitrary citations from the 188 volumes of the cases.  They, as a rule, did not bother themselves with an explanation of what fact or what circumstance the citation made proves.  Sometimes they gave the presiding judge a hundred-page material for review, i.e. for a couple of minutes, etc.  This continues even today, during the questioning of witnesses…  The prosecution is making every effort to impede the defense in participating in full measure in the questioning of witnesses.  They constantly interrupt the defendants and their lawyers; accuse [them] of exerting «psychological influence» on witnesses.  In so doing, they themselves literally impose  formulations of answers onto witnesses, etc.  It is difficult to call all this anything else but a defiant disrespect for the court.

And while the representatives of the state prosecution pretend to present evidence, perhaps waiting for what kind of decision is going to be adopted by the bosses in relation to the fate of the defendants, judge Danilkin is fated to serve as a decoration of justice.

Right now, the obvious paralysis of the trial in the Khamovnichesky Court is showing the entire world that in our country, the court nearly always walks on the prosecution’s leash, and that there simply can not be any talk at all about any serious evidence of the guilt of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

Mister Chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia!

Visit the Khamovnichesky Court as a spectator.  Perhaps your presence alone will help the presiding judge rigorously follow procedural principles.  At any rate, the experience you will gain will no doubt be very valuable in the preparation for a Plenum of the Supreme Court dedicated to questions of the observance of the rights of defendants and ensuring procedural equality of arms.

Mister President of the Russian Federation!

You have expressed an aspiration to give a new impetus to transformations of our country on the foundations of law, you lament the indifference of society to the protection of rights, the low prestige of our justice.  Choose a time and drive down to the Khamovnichesky Court.  The entire picture of domestic justice with all its shortcomings will be as if in the palm of your hand.  Herein you will be at a «demonstrational-show» trial, where thanks to the attention of the whole world the rights of the defendants and the defense, as well as of journalists and citizens attending the trial, are observed in a significantly greater degree than in other courts of Russia.  Well, and if you are unable to attend the Khamovnichesky Court due to an excessive load of affairs of state, then ask a person you trust and on whose opinion about questions of legal reforms you totally rely on to attend it.  We are convinced that the impressions received will play an important role in the preparation of that section of your address to the Federal Assembly which will be devoted to questions of strengthening law and developing the judicial system in our country.

We address domestic jurists, including judges, lawyers, legal scholars, workers of the law-enforcement system, with a call to attend the trial of Lebedev and Khodorkovsky - it is imperative that you see for yourselves the trial that will determine the fate of justice in our country for many years, either bringing back hope in the law, or striking it [the law] out for a long time to come.

We invite representatives of the business community to this trial, first and foremost members of the RSPP – it is imperative for you to see with your own eyes what specifically, which business and financial operations the procuracy considers criminal, and how it is attempting to substantiate this.  We are confident – this will be very instructive!    

We are not taking it upon ourselves to judge how our powers are going to extricate themselves from that juridical cul-de-sac into which they have driven themselves with the second Lebedev-Khodorkovsky case.

We hope that they will find a worthy exit from the situation, that experienced jurists will remember that by Russian laws, a pardon by the President does not require either the submission of a plea or an admission of guilt on the part of the convict.

We are convinced that the lessons of this trial will serve as the foundation for very serious changes in the activity of the procuracy and the court.  It is obvious that precisely the outcome of this trial will play a role of principle in whether our state will turn out to be prepared in deed to recognize the principle of «supremacy of the law», our country is capable of finding a path towards civilized democratic development, or not.

We demand a stop to the disgraceful trial and the release of Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky


Ludmilla Alexeeva, Chairwoman, Moscow Helsinki group

Sergey Alexashenko, director of macroeconomic research, GU-VSh-7

Liya Akhedjakova, actress

Natella Boltyanskaya, journalist

Valery Borshchev, member, Moscow Helsinki group

Alla Bossart, writer

Svetlana Gannushkina, Chairwoman, Committee for civil assistance

Yevgeny Gontmakher, economist

Lev Gudkov, director, Levada-Centre

Leonid Gozman, co-chairman, «Right cause» Party

Lidiya Grafova, writer

Boris Dubin, section head, Levada-Centre

Yuri Djibladze, president, Center for the development of democracy and human rights

Alexander Daniel, member, Management Board, International «Memorial»

Dmitry Zimin, founder, «Dinastiya» Foundation

Igor Irteniev, writer

Alexey Kondaurov,  Bureau member, National assembly of the RF

Sergey Kovalev, Chairman, A.Sakharov Foundation

Dmitry Katayev, co-chairman, All-Moscow movement «Housing Solidarity»

Vladimir Korsunsky, editor-in-chief «Grani.Ru»

Vladimir Milov, president, Institute of Energy Policy,

Boris Nadezhdin, department head, MFTI

Alla Nazimova, sociologist

Dmitry Oreshkin, member, Council under the President of the RF for assisting the development of civil society and human rights institutions

Alexander Osovtsov, lawyer, bureau member, United Civic Front

Lev Ponomarev, All-Russia Public Movement «For human rights»

Andrei Piontkovsky, writer

Yuri Ryzhov, academician, Russian Academy of Sciences

Arseny Roginsky, chairman, Management Board, International society «Memorial»

Yuri Samodurov, curator of exhibition projects

Georgy Satarov, president, INDEM Foundation

Zoya Svetova, journalist

Alexey Simonov, president, Glasnost defense foundation

Sergey Sorokin, judicial expert,

Natalia Tochilnikova, writer

Mikhail Trepashkin, lawyer, chief of department for the protection of the unlawfully convicted, All-Russian organization "Commission for the struggle with corruption"

Natalia Fateyeva, actress

Ernst Cherny, responsible secretary, Public committee for the defense of scientists

Viktor Sheynis, professor, member, Political committee, "Yabloko" Party

Viktor Shenderovich, writer

Mikhail Schneider, responsible secretary, Federal Political Committee, United democratic movement «Solidarity»    

Igor G. Yakovenko, doctor of philological sciences, professor 

clergyman Gleb Yakunin, Public committee for the defense of freedom of conscience

Yevgeny Yasin, president, «Liberal mission» Foundation

Igor Yasulovich, actor

and many others 

Moscow, 2 November 2009



"Human Rights in Russia" (
Translated by "Human Rights in Ukraine"