Lawyer Wins Improved Prison Treatment

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 2

Dissident Russian lawyer and former KGB/FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin has been transferred to a prison cell with more normal living conditions. But a Moscow military court has rejected his defense counsel’s petition to drop the criminal case against him.

According to the website Prava cheloveka v Rossii (“Human Rights in Russia”), defense counsel Marina Yulina told journalists after a closed court session on January 8 that the statute under which Trepashkin is being prosecuted (for allegedly having made copies of secret documents and taken them to his home) took effect only on January 1, 1997. She said that the prosecution has not even tried to prove that her client violated it after that date.

Yulina also confirmed that, at the end of December, Trepashkin was transferred to a cell where he has his own sleeping berth; he no longer has to take turns with other prisoners in order to sleep. She said that this and other improvements in the conditions of his imprisonment had been triggered by his appeal to the European Court on Human Rights.

Trepashkin has played an active role in challenging the Kremlin’s version of various Chechnya-related events, including terrorist attacks in Moscow (see Chechnya Weekly, November 19, 2003).