AI Index: EUR 46/027/2006
31 May 2006
Health concern/Denial of medical treatment
Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin (m), lawyer
Lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin has been imprisoned since May 2005 on charges
which appear to have been politically motivated. He suffers from chronic
asthma, which has worsened in custody. On 29 May a judge ordered that he be
hospitalized, but that evening he was forcibly removed from hospital by
prison warders. Without adequate medical treatment his life may be in
A former KGB and Federal Security Services (FSB) officer, Mikhail
Trepashkin had been assisting the independent commission investigating a
series of explosions that took place in apartment buildings in Moscow and
other cities in 1999. The authorities had blamed the explosions on Chechen
separatists, but there are allegations that the FSB had been complicit in
the explosions, which the Russian government had used as a pretext for
military action in Chechnya.
He was arrested in October 2003, one week before he had been due to appear
in court to represent the family of one of the people killed in the 1999
explosions. He was eventually convicted of "divulging state secrets" and
"illegal possession of ammunition" by a Russian military court in May 2005,
and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. Amnesty International is
concerned that he may have been prosecuted in order to prevent him
continuing his investigations, and his work as a lawyer, around the
In detention he had repeatedly complained about not receiving adequate
medical treatment for his asthma. Some of the cells he was placed in were
reportedly infested with lice and bugs.
On 29 May the district court in Nizhnii Tagil, Sverdlosk region, was to
decide on Mikhail Trepashkin's appeal for access to adequate medical
treatment. However, during the hearing he suffered a severe asthma attack,
and the judge called an ambulance. The ambulance crew found that Mikhail
Trepashkin had developed a severe form of bronchial asthma and needed
urgent treatment, so the judge postponed the hearing and ordered that
Mikhail Trepashkin be taken to hospital immediately. At the hospital, in
Nizhnii Tagil, he was given oxygen and put on a drip.
At about 10pm that day, the deputy head of the prison colony apparently
came to the hospital with five warders, and took Mikhail Trepashkin back to
the prison colony where he was serving his sentence. His lawyer called the
police, but a senior officer apparently ordered them to leave the hospital.
The deputy head of the prison colony told staff at the hospital that
Mikhail Trepashkin would be brought to the hospital for treatment twice a
week. When Amnesty International spoke to his lawyer the following day, she
had not been able to visit him and the prison authorities had not provided
her with any information about the state of his health. The hospital had
told her that he had a severe form of bronchial asthma, a serious medical
condition which would entitle him to be released from prison under a
February 2004 government decree.
As a consultant to an independent commission set up to investigate the 1999
apartment block bombings, Mikhail Trepashkin investigated the actions of
the FSB. In particular, he was asked to investigate allegations that the
security services had been complicit in the bombings. Since mid-2002,
Mikhail Trepashkin had been acting as a legal representative for the family
of one of the victims of the bombings.
In August 2005 Mikhail Trepashkin had been released on parole from prison,
but on 18 September he was detained in his flat in Moscow without a court
order and eventually taken back to the prison colony in Nizhnii Tagil.