Re: Stanislav Dimtrievsky
To: President Vladimir Putin
From: Charles B. Davison
I am writing to you once again concerning the case of Stanislaw Dmitrievsky, who is on trial in the Nizhny Novgorod Region as a result of his having published statements of two Chechen separatist leaders calling for a peaceful conclusion to the conflict between Russia and those in Chechnia who seek independence. You will recall that I also wrote to you in connection to this matter in November 2005, when Bill Bowring, an internationally respected British human-rights lawyer seeking to observe the trial was prevented entry to Russia. As you will also recall, I wrote then, and I write at this time, on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, which is a non-partisan organization concerned with the rights and protection of lawyers and other human rights workers around the world.
It is our understanding that on January 11, 2006, Mr. Vladimir Demidov, Prosecutor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, expressed publicly his firm belief that Mr. Dmitrievsky would be found guilty and that you would ask that he be sent to prison. He went on to say “it is important for our multinational society, which supports a positive attitude towards all nationalities, that calls made by bandits inciting ethnic hatred not be published by newspapers…”. As noted above, the “calls” in question were for the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Chechen conflict which has claimed so many innocent lives in your country.
As you know, the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offender (1999) established Guidelines for the role of prosecutors, which said, in part, that those lawyers should carry out their duties impartially, fairly and consistently. Prosecutors are to act objectively and should not become allied with other parties or interests either favourable to or opposed to the individual accused.
We know your country faces a serious challenge in the form of the armed and violent activities of some persons committed to Chechen independence. We do not strive to promote the goals or objectives, but are extremely concerned about the fairness of the proceedings brought against Stanislaw Dmitrievsky. These concerns are heightened and emphasized in light of the words attributed to the Prosecutor of this region.
We again call upon you to permit international observers at the trial of Mr. Dmitrievsky and that the proceedings otherwise be subject to the probing and unfettered scrutiny of the media and public. We also call upon you to ensure that there is no attempt to censor or otherwise control of dictate the content of any reports of the proceedings which may be submitted for publication.