Thursday, January 22, 2009

AI Index: EUR 46/003/2009


AI Index: EUR 46/003/2009


14 January 2009

Further Information on UA 13/08 (EUR 46/002/2008, 18 January 2008) and follow-up (EUR 46/009/2008, 15 February 2008) – Health concern /Unfair trial


Vasilii Georgievich Aleksanian (m), aged 37

On 31 December 2008, Vasilii Aleksanian was released on bail of 50 million roubles (more than US$1.5 million). The money had been collected during a campaign in his support. Moscow City Court ordered his release on bail after his lawyers appealed against an earlier Moscow District Court ruling, which would have prolonged his detention until 22 January.

Vasilii Aleksanian, a former vice-president of the Russian oil company YUKOS, was detained on 6 April 2006 and accused of embezzlement and tax fraud. He had worked for YUKOS several years before becoming vice-president in March 2006 at a time when the company was about to
dissolve. In October 2006 he was diagnosed with HIV infection, and subsequently developed AIDS and several other diseases, including lymphatic cancer, tuberculosis and a cataract; he has also developed a tumour in his kidney. Under Russian law, a person diagnosed with such serious health problems should not be kept in pre-trial detention.
However, he continued to be detained and authorities did not provide the medical treatment he needed. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled three times in November and December 2007 that he should be transferred to a specialist hospital. The Russian authorities, however, initially ignored the rulings and only transferred him secretly to a hospital on 8 February 2008. Initially he was kept there chained to his bed and his lawyers and relatives were not allowed to visit him.

On 22 December, the ECtHR found that Russia had violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights "on account of the lack of proper medical assistance [for Vasilii Aleksanian] in the remand prison" and "… the failure of the domestic courts to adduce relevant and sufficient reasons to justify his continuous detention."

Vasilii Aleksanian is still receiving treatment at the specialist Moscow hospital he was transferred to in February 2008. Since his release on bail, he is no longer being guarded by law enforcement

In mid-november, he had surgery to remove his spleen. Soon afterwards his condition deteriorated, but improved again in late December.
Vasilii Aleksanian spent 31 December with his family, including his six-year-old son, whom he last saw three years ago.

Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA Network.