On October 13, 2008, mercury
was discovered in the car of Ms. Karinna Moskalenko, a lawyer and
Head of the International Protection Centre, who resides in Strasbourg,
France. Her physical health and that of her family are satisfactory,
though she does not feel well. Yet, she cannot tell for how long the car
could have been contaminated with mercury. The Prosecutor of Strasbourg,
where Ms. Moskalenko lives, opened an investigation into the alleged
attempt to poison her.
On October 15, 2008, Ms.
Moskalenko was to participate in the preliminary hearings at the military
court in Moscow on the case of Ms. Anna Politkovskaya, in which she was
to represent the family of the murdered journalist. In the past, Ms.
Moskalenko has also represented torture victims in Chechnya, relatives of
those killed in the 2004 Beslan school siege, and survivors of the
hostage crisis at Moscow’s Nord-Ost theatre in 2002. She is also the
lawyer of Mr. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former CEO of Yukos, who is still
detained in Siberia. Lawyers of Ms. Moskalenko’s International Protection
Centre also represent the interests of the Russian-Chechen Friendship
Society (RCFS) in Strasbourg in one of the complaints submitted to the
European Court on Human Rights on the ban of the organisation.
The Observatory therefore
fears that this alleged murder attempt against Ms. Moskalenko might be
linked to her human rights activities, and calls upon the French
authorities to provide adequate measures of protection for Ms.
Moskalenko, in conformity with the European Union Guidelines on Human
Rights Defenders, as well as to conduct a fair and impartial
investigation into the above-mentioned alleged murder attempt against Ms.
Moskalenko in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before
a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal, civil
and/or administrative sanctions provided by the law.
Furthermore, the Observatory
calls upon the Russian authorities to put an end to any acts of
harassment against all Russian human rights defenders and to conform with
the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on
December 9, 1998, as well as of the Declaration of the Committee of
Ministers of the Council of Europe for enhanced protection of human
rights defenders, adopted on February 6, 2008, and of the Resolution on
Strengthening OSCE Engagement with Human Rights Defenders and National
Human Rights Institutions, adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on
July 10, 2007.
further information, please contact:
OMCT : Delphine Reculeau, + 41 22 809 49 39
FIDH : Gael Grilhot, + 33 1 43 55 25 18
TAKE ACTION NOW