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Russia: Release prominent lawyer defending Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation from arbitrary detention

rusia 04.05

Responding to news that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers have detained Ivan Pavlov, a human rights lawyer defending the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Aleksei Navalny, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said:

“Lawyers are the last line of defence against the government’s growing crackdown on human rights, and now the authorities are going after one of the country’s most courageous lawyers. They accused him of disclosing information about cases they are arbitrarily treating as a state secret. This is a travesty of justice. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ivan Pavlov from arbitrary detention. ”

“Targeting lawyers who defend victims of politically motivated prosecutions has become a dangerous trend in Russia, especially in the North Caucasus. Rarely has it being done in such a brazen manner, with open FSB involvement, as with Ivan Pavlov. If the international community was waiting for a signal to sound the alarm, then that time has come. Ivan Pavlov and his brave Team 29 have helped countless people. Now they themselves need our solidarity and support.”

“Lawyers should never be arrested simply for peacefully exercising their human rights and discharging their professional duties. Russian authorities must end the crackdown on the legal profession, and respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone.”

Background

Ivan Pavlov, human rights lawyer and the head of the human rights group Komanda 29 (Team 29), has worked on numerous high-profile cases including that of Ivan Safronov, a former journalist charged with state treason, and is now representing Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation in the “extremism” case against it. He was detained in the early hours of 30 April after a raid on the hotel where he was staying in Moscow. He was apprehended by the officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

According to Team 29, Ivan Pavlov is charged with “disclosure of materials of the preliminary investigation” (Article 310 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). It is not yet known under which case he is being prosecuted. The Russian authorities have arbitrarily classified a lot of criminal cases as secret and closed trials to the public, including the Anti-Corruption Foundation case.

If found guilty, he could face up to two years of compulsory labour and might be disbarred.

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