On this day, it was suggested to Lebedev’s lawyer “to wash down notes”

On this day, it was suggested to Lebedev’s lawyer “to wash down notes”

“Lebedev gave to Baru some sheet of paper, the lawyer read it and put it in his pocket”. “They should be provided with tea to water down notes”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on December 5, 2003.

On this day 18 years ago, on December 5, 2003, around the lawyers of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev once again sparkled a regular scandal – from Yevgeny Baru, Platon Lebedev’s lawyer, as he was leaving the pre-trial detention center (SIZO) “Matrosskaya Tishina”, were seized some pieces of paper. Employees of the pre-trial detention center suggested that the lawyer could be carrying out notes of the defendant with instruction. As to Yevgeny Baru, he insisted that those were notes not related to the criminal case.


According to the Chief Directorate of Punishment Implementation (GUIN), the story was a bit different. “In this particular case, an employee through the eyehole saw that Lebedev gave some piece of paper, the lawyer read it and put it in his pocket. “For an hour and a half, we were trying politely to conduct a search of the lawyer Baru, but he didn’t present anything. After they started to seize his belongings, he himself put out the note, tore it to pieces, and put it in his pocket. The scraps were then confiscated”, said Yuri Kalinin, the deputy head of the Ministry of Justice. “Had the lawyer been a law-abiding person, he would have at once given the fragments of the note or would have dumped them in the pre-trial facility, where there are dustbins”, said Kalinin. Instead, the lawyer explained that he didn’t want to litter on the territory of the SIZO.

In his turn, the Minister of Justice Yuri Chaika said: “He had better eat them, it's necessary to provide them (lawyers) with tea to wash down notes”. The seized scraps were framed up in a proper manner, and, in a sealed envelope, there were passed on to the experts of the investigation team to determine their importance for the case. In his turn, the lawyer, at the instigation of which the scandal took place, said “the seized from him notes cannot become evidence with regard to the Lebeve’s case”.

Genry Reznik, the head of the Moscow Chamber of Lawyers, called the seizure “of the scraps of the torn paper” from Yevgeny Baru, “the arbitrariness”. And because of the created noise, nobody recalled that the lawyer Baru had been ready to dump these scraps to the dustbin if such a thing had been in the office.

“It’s symptomatic that a bit earlier the same history happened with the lawyer of Khodorkovsky. On November 11, 2003, Olga Artyukhova, the lawyer of the former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was examined at the exit of the SIZO, two documents were seized from her lawyer's file". The handwritten notes were very similar to those of Khodorkovsky’s, and they could have been "instructions to counteract the investigation by way of influencing the participants of the case out of prison”. However, the lawyer Artyukhova, having mentioned the abuse of power, sad that she herself had made the notes, and Khodorkovsky had not passed her anything. A scandal erupted. Some proposed to strike Artyukhova off the rolls, although she insisted that she herself had handwritten the notes, “recording her thoughts” and that “she did not write down any instruction”. Soon in the press emerged this handwritten note, that Artyukhova had tried to tear up, in order “to keep somehow the lawyers' secrecy". At the end of the day, she herself submitted an application about her disbarment “in connection with the changed family circumstances”. The Chamber of Lawyers also satisfied her request”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, Khodorkovsky came out for “brain drain” from Russia”. The newspaper "Le Soir”: “On Friday, in Brussels, the head of Yukos demonstrated a highly tough stance towards the Russian administration". The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on December 4, 2000.

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