Russia arrest of former Yukos exec violated rights convention: Europe court

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Thursday ruled [judgment; press release] that Russia's arrest and pre-trial detention of former Yukos executive Platon Lebedev [defense website] violated Lebedev's right to liberty and security under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text]. Lebedev was arrested in 2003 on fraud and tax evasion charges. According to the ECHR press release, the court held:

  • unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 [Section] 1 (c) concerning Mr Lebedev's unauthorised detention between 31 March and 6 April 2004;

  • by four votes to three, that there had been a violation of Article 5 [Section] 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge) concerning the absence of Mr Lebedev's lawyers at a hearing on 3 July 2003;

  • by five votes to two, that there had been a violation of Article 5 [Section] 4 (right to have lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court) concerning delays in the review of the detention order of 26 December 2003;

  • unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 [Section] 4 concerning delays in the review of the detention order of 6 April 2004;

  • unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 [Section] 4 concerning Mr Lebedev's absence from the detention hearing on 8 June 2004; and,

  • unanimously, that there had been no failure to comply with Article 34 (right of individual petition).
  • The Court awarded Lebedev more than $4,300 in damages and almost $10,000 to cover legal fees.

    Lebedev, a former top manager of Yukos which was once Russia's largest oil company, was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in May 2005. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] was also convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] and has two cases pending before the Strasbourg-based ECHR. Russian prosecutors indicted Lebedev and Khodorkovsky on new money laundering charges [JURIST report] in early 2007. Russia insisted these charges are not politically motivated, but Khodorkovsky and the United States disagree [JURIST reports]. AP has more.


     

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