Lawyer Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin imprisoned since May 2005 on political charges


Amnesty International

PUBLIC

AI Index: EUR 46/027/2006

31 May 2006

UA 154/06

Health concern/Denial of medical treatment

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

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

danger.

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

bombings.

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.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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.

ENDS//

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