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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

RUSSIA

19th  January 2009

  Russian Lawyer In Prominent Chechnya Cases

Stanislav Markelov

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Shot Dead in Moscow

after he had opposed the early release of a Russian colonel convicted of killing a Chechen woman.

 

 

On January 19, 2009, lawyer Stanislav Markelov, 34, was shot in the back of the head at close range by an attacker who followed him in the street, wore a stocking-style mask and had a silencer on his gun - clear signs of a planned killing, state-run RIA-Novosti news agency reported, citing an unidentified law enforcement official. Police also reportedly said there were several witnesses. Ms. Anastacia Baburova, a young journalist, who worked on Politkovskaya's paper Novaya Gazeta, who also took part in the conference and who has covered amongst others the case of Mr. Budanov, was also shot trying to protect Markelov and died soon after  in hospital.

 

Stanislav Markelov  was shot dead at around 2 pm, near a building where he had just held a news conference, about half a mile (1 kilometer) from the Kremlin,  when he was coming back from a press conference entitled “Unlawful release of Budanov: neglecting by court and direct advantage of militants: who to do next?”. Mr. Markelov stated at the press conference that he was about to appeal the denial made by the court of Dimitrovgrad city to consider the appeal on Colonel Budanov’s early release.

 

Stanislaw Markelov was representing as a lawyer  the interests of Ms. Elza Kungaeva’s family. Elza Kungaeva was a teenage girl, kidnapped ,  tortured, raped and brutally murdered during the Chechen war by Russian Colonel, Yuri Budanov. Notwithstanding the support Budanov gained from the tops of the army and state, and the fact that he was made into a “hero” by the nationalist and far-right movements, including the Orthodox Church, Budanov’s behavior proved unacceptable to the court and he was jailed. Colonel Budanov has become a symbol of human rights abuses perpetrated by federal forces against Chechen civilians, and an icon for Russian nationalists.

 

On December 24, 2008, the Court had decided to release Colonel Budanov prior the end of the term, for “good behaviour”.  

Stanislav Markelov had filed a complaint about the early release from prison of Colonel Budanov. On January 11, 2009, the Court had rejected Mr. Markelov’s appeal against the release decision. It led to protests in Chechnya.

 

According to information received, Stanislav Markelov constantly received telephone calls and text messages in which he was threatened with death.  Recently, he had received death threats both in text messages and phone calls.

 

 

Stanislav Markelov   was an exception to many of his generation. He  was first and foremost a political activist, who used his training as a lawyer for the benefit of the movement. In the mid 1990s he was active in LAS, the Russian section of Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE), which was initiated by the CWI.

 

Unlike many of his colleagues, Markelov put his principles, while others ditched their principles to further their careers. He gained a well earned reputation as an advocate, prepared to speak out against injustice in any form.

 

Stanislav Markelov was involved in a number of trials. He represented Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote extensively about human rights violations in Chechnya. He also had represented activists who have battled abuses the Russia's military and a Chechen woman who was a victim in a 2002 hostage-taking attack on a Moscow theater. He represented the victims in the Nord-Ost case, the family of Mr. Zelimkhan Murdalov, who was subjected to torture and who disappeared in 2004,  as well as the interests of Mr. Mikhail Beketov, the chief editor of the Khimkinskaya Pravda, who was severely beaten on November 13, 2008. Significantly, Stanislav’s murder provoked a protest demonstration of over a thousand people in Chechnya.

 

Stanislav Markelov also acted on behalf of Mikhail Beketov, well know as an opposition journalist in one of Moscow’s suburbs, who published revelations about the corruption of city bureaucrats concerning the road building and construction programmes.   Makelov also defended anti-fascist youths in court and acted against fascists.

 

Previously, in 2004, (See : http://www.idhae.org/idhae-uk-page4.1.rus.htm  ) Stanislav Markelov was attacked as he travelled home on the metro by a group of five men in their twenties. They then hit him on the head with a heavy object, causing him to lose consciousness. He woke up two hours later at the last metro station. His mobile phone, which contained the phone numbers of all his clients, was missing as were various identity documents, including his lawyer’s licence card, his passport and an entry card for the State Duma.

Among the missing case documents were those relating to the trial of Sergei Lapin (known as "Kadet"), who has been charged in connection with the "disappearance" and torture of Chechen student Zelimkhan Murdalov, whose family is represented by Stanislav Markelov. Sergei Lapin served in Chechnya as a member of the special police detachment (OMON) from the Khanty-Mansyski region in the Russian Federation which was operating in Grozny. Zelimkhan Murdalov "disappeared" on 2 January 2001 after having been detained by Russian OMON forces in Grozny. Witnesses claimed that he was tortured to death in police custody.On 7 January 2001, a criminal investigation was opened into Zelimkhan Murdalov’s "disappearance".

In September 2001, journalist Anna Politkovskaya published an article in Novaya Gazeta newspaper called "The Disappearing People", in which she spoke about the allegations connecting Sergei Lapin and his OMON colleagues to the torture of Zelimkhan Murdalov. 

 

In January 2002, Sergei Lapin was arrested and charged in connection with the allegations of torture of Zelimkhan Murdalov in detention. Sergei Lapin was released pending trial in May 2003 because he was found not to be threatening to the public safety. His trial began in Grozny at the end of 2003, but he reportedly has not attended any of the hearings so far because he claimed he suffered a mental illness. However, according to reports, he was first dismissed from OMON, but later reinstated as a police officer in the city of Nizhnevartovsk, where he currently serves. Reportedly, he was recently awarded a medal "For Protecting Public Order", accompanied by a letter, signed by the Russian President.

 

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW !

Copy and send the following letter:

 

Addresses:

  • Dmitri Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Faxes:+ 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408, Email: president@gov.ru; ·
  • Mr. Yuriy Chaika, General Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation, 125993, Moscow, GSP-3, 15a B. Dimitrovka str. RUSSIA, Fax: +7 (495) 692-96-00 ·
  • Ella Pamfilova, Chairwoman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Russian Federation, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax:+70952064855;
  • Vladimir Lukin, Russian Federal Ombudsman for Human Rights, Fax: +7 495 607 3969 / +7 495 207-53-37;
  • Minister of Internal Affairs, Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 095 237 49 25;
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 095 244 2203

 

Letter:

 

 

[Your name here]

 

Your Excellency,

 

Like all lawyers in Europe, we are deeply concerned following information received regarding the assassination of Russian human rights lawyer, our distinguished colleague Mr Stanislav Markelov, on 19 January 2009. .

 

On 19 January 2009, at approximately 3 p.m., Stanislav Markelov, 34, was shot in the back of the head at close range by an attacker who followed him near the Kropotkinskaya metro station in Moscow, wore a stocking-style mask and had a silencer on his gun - clear signs of a planned killing - state-run RIA-Novosti news agency reported. Ms. Anastacia Baburova, a young journalist, who worked on Politkovskaya's paper Novaya Gazeta, who also took part in the conference, was also shot trying to protect Markelov and died soon after in hospital.

 

Our Colleague Stanislav Markelov was the lawyer for the family of Elsa Kungayeva, an 18 year-old Chechen girl who was abducted and killed in March 2000 by Russian army Colonel Yuri Budanov. Colonel Budanov was arrested in 2000, sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment three years later, but released on parole on 15 January 2009.

 

Stanislav Markelov was shot near a building where they had just attended a press conference entitled “Unlawful release of Budanov: neglecting by court and direct advantage of militants: who to do next?”. He  stated at the press conference that he was about to appeal the denial made by the court of Dimitrovgrad city to consider the appeal on Colonel Budanov’s early release.  

 

Our Colleague Stanislav Markelov was involved in a number of trials. He represented Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote extensively about human rights violations in Chechnya. He had also represented human rights defenders who have opposed human rights violations perpetrated by Russia's military, and a Chechen woman who was the victim of an attack on a Moscow theatre in which hostages were taken in 2002.

 

According to information received, Stanislav Markelov constantly received telephone calls and text messages in which he was threatened with death.  We  believe that Stanislav Markelov was killed because of his peaceful and legitimate human rights work, in the defence of victims of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

 

As European and human rights Lawyers we want to urge the Russian authorities to:

 

1. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of our Colleague Stanislav Markelov, , in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Provide Mr. Stanislaw Markelov’s family adequate reparation;

3. Put an end to all acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and ensure in all circumstances that they be able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;

4. Comply with the relevant international norms and standards and to report on all breaches of human rights standards, in line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as with Article 12.2 (“the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”);

5. .More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[Your signature here]

 

 

TAKE ACTION NOW !

 

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