MENT BY THE
CUTOR IN THE
on the Role of Lawyers adopted by the United Nations,”
the IBA noted.
Fearing arrest, Khairetdinov and several other lawyers
have since fled Russia.
Mark Ellis, executive director of the IBA, denounced
the raids as a sign of deterioration of the rule of law in
Russia. “When government agents interfere with the
work of lawyers, it is not only the legal profession that is
threatened, but the overall legal order in the state,” said
Ellis last September.
And in what critics say is an attempt to turn the legal
profession against itself, the Russian government has
been putting pressure on the lawyer-discipline process.
In the Yukos case, for instance, prosecutors tried to
have all 14 attorneys who represented former CEO
Khodorkovsky disbarred. The prosecutor-general singled out one attorney, human rights lawyer Karinna
Moskalenko, for particular humiliation. He wanted her
disbarred for “incompetent defense,” even though
Khodorkovsky wrote a statement praising her work.
Although disbarments would have curried favor with
Putin, the Moscow Collegium of Advocates refused to
disbar any of the attorneys. And perhaps as a result, the
Russian government has proposed a new law that would
allow lawyers’ licenses to be yanked without bar approval.
A HALL OF MIRRORS
It is the hall of mirrors that is the murder of Stanislav
Markelov which observers say best demonstrates the
current troubled Russian legal landscape.
On the day he was killed, Markelov held a press conference about one of his cases—the rape, kidnapping
PHOTOGRAPH: AP PHOTO/CHRISTIAN LUTZ
and murder of an 18-year-old Chechen woman by Russian Col. Yuri Budanov.
Markelov represented the teenager’s family during
Budanov’s trial. In 2003, Budanov was convicted of
murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he was
released in January. Markelov announced at the press
conference that he would challenge Budanov’s release.
Minutes later, Markelov was dead.
Markelov’s friends are not sure whether it was the
Budanov case that prompted his assassination. He also
represented a number of Chechens who claimed to have
been tortured or kidnapped by Russian officers and
politicians, including the family of a Chechen student.
While preparing the case against a Russian police officer accused of falsely arresting, torturing and murdering
the young man, Markelov was beaten by skinheads in a
Moscow subway. They left his watch and wallet untouched, but stole his briefcase full of legal documents,
says Markelov friend and Russian human rights activist
Oksana Chelysheva. Despite the intimidation, Markelov
persisted, and the police officer was eventually sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Markelov’s colleagues say his work representing
newspaper editor Mikhail Beketov may be another case
that led to his assassination. One of Beketov’s stories
probed Russian developers’ plans to raze the ancient
Khimki Forest near Moscow to build a luxury mixed-use real estate project.
Abusive phone callers began harassing Beketov at work
and home. Someone poisoned Beketov’s dog and left
the corpse at the back door. In November, neighbors
found Beketov unconscious and drenched in blood in
his backyard. He was beaten so savagely, pieces of his
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