Re: Mikhail Trepashkin
To: Yury Ivanovich Kalinin, Federal Service for the Execution of Punishments, Russian Federation;
From: Russell MacKay
I am writing, as a member of LRWC, in response to information obtained from Amnesty International indicating that Mr. Mikhail Trepashkin, a lawyer and human rights activist, is not receiving any, or any proper, medical treatment at IK 13. I am told that he is incarcerated in IK 13 in the Sverdlovsk Region and that his health is very poor. I am told that, instead of releasing him or providing him with proper medical care, plans are being made to move him to an even stricter prison colony where medical attention will even less likely. Finally, I am told that all of this has been repeatedly brought to the attention of the authorities by Mr. Trepashkin’s lawyers – so far to no avail.
In addition to the above-noted concerns with Mr. Trepashkin’s physical well-bring, I understand the following:
Given Mr. Trepashkin’s activities in support of a commission inquiring into explosions in Moscow and other parts of Russia in 1999 which resulted in his arrest in October 2003 before his appearance in court as legal representative for one of the victim’s families, one cannot help but conclude that his arrest, prosecution, conviction, imprisonment and the current lack of treatment for his serious medical condition are all related and officially sanctioned by the authorities. In fact, the very legitimacy of the convictions is doubtful.
On February 12th, 2007, Mr. Trepashkin was scheduled to be in court to answer charges that he violated prison rules at IK 13. I am unaware of whether this hearing proceeded but am concerned that the potential result could mean a transfer to a more remote and stricter facility. Given the above-noted concerns about Mr. Trepashkin’s health and the effect on his ability to properly participate in mounting a defence, the fairness of any such hearing is questionable.
I understand that Mr. Trepashkin has been diagnosed as far back as May, 2006 as suffering from a severe form of bronchial asthma that would, under the guidelines established by your own Ministry of Health warrant his outright release from prison. I am not aware of any steps that have been taken in either arranging his release or making inquiries into the diagnosis. I am informed that this lack of action is most unusual and irregular. I also understand that no justification for this unusual and irregular treatment has been made known. I suspect that the reason for this is that no justification exists.
Under the circumstances, we are very concerned that Mr. Trepashkin’s detention has no legal merit. We are extremely concerned for his physical and psychological well-being.
We respectfully ask for guarantees from you to take all actions necessary to ensure that:
i. Mr. Trepashin be transferred immediately to a medical facility and placed in the care of independent medical doctors with the authority to diagnose him accurately and treat him successfully;
ii. Mr. Trepashkin’s life, well-being and psychological integrity and legal rights are, and will continue to be, protected;
iii. All necessary steps are being taken to either release Mr. Trepashkin unconditionally or properly make known the basis on which his continued detention is justified by law.
iv. All acts of harassment of Mr. Trepashkin and other lawyers involved in the investigation of the 1999 explosions in Russia cease immediately;
v. A full review of Mr. Trepashkin’s case be undertaken – including an independent review of the fairness of his trial(s). While this is underway that he be released from detention to enable him to freely and effectively instruct his legal representatives.
Russia has a responsibility to adopt these measures to guarantee the life and physical safety of Mr. Trepashkin. This duty arises from the Russian Federation’s membership in the United Nations (UN) and under your own laws. Both Mr. Trepashkin’s right to life and his right to necessary medical treatment are guaranteed by international law binding on the Russian Federation and by the Russian Constitution.
Article 2 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation declares,
“[m]an, his rights and freedoms shall be the supreme value. It shall be a duty of the state to recognize, respect and protect the rights and liberties of man and citizen.) and also by international law binding on Russia.”
We bring to your attention UN approved standards requiring the requested medical treatment. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (approved by the Economic and Social Council in 1957 and again in 1977), entitles Mr. Trepashkin to effective medical attention and treatment. Article 22 (2) provides,
2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.
The arrest, harassment and continued detention of Mr. Trepashkin cannot be seen as anything other than a violation of his rights and an alarming signal of very serious deterioration of the rule of law in Uzbekistan under the current regime. It is a hallmark of a civilized state that lawyers are given the freedom to properly advance causes – whether or not those causes are popular with the governing powers.
Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of the actions that the government of Russia is taking or intends to take remedy this alarming situation.
LRWC awaits your response. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.