Though seriously ill, the dissident lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin is being held illegally in a Moscow isolation cell, according to a July 9 article on the Newsru.com website. The terms of Trepashkin’s May 19 sentence for allegedly having revealed state secrets (see Chechnya Weekly, May 26) required him to be transferred to a rural prison colony, but instead he is still being closely confined in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina prison.
The website also reported that according to Trepashkin’s doctor he recently suffered a heart attack but is being denied access to proper medical attention. An appeal by the Moscow-based organization For Human Rights accused the authorities of “creating conditions which amount to torture in the manner of his confinement” and thus of violating several international human-rights treaties. The appeal suggested that these violations were motivated by the authorities’ desire “to take revenge on him for his public activities aimed at defended civil rights, and for his conscientious fulfilling of his professional duties as a defender of the rights of those who have suffered from acts of terrorism.”
Trepashkin was an adviser to former Duma deputy Sergei Kovalev’s commission investigating the suspicious 1999 apartment-house bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, and also the planting of a bomb, which did not explode in a Ryazan apartment house. The Yeltsin and Putin administrations used the Moscow and Volgodonsk bombings to justify the second Chechen war, but blocked full-scale investigations of them. For Human Rights and other human rights groups in Russia consider Trepashkin to be a political prisoner.