- Title: RUSSIA: COUNCIL OF EUROPE ENVOY UNABLE TO SEE YUKOS DEFENDANTS.
- Date: 27th May 2004
- Summary: (W5) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (MAY 27, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. SABINE LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ENVOY AT NEWS CONFERENCE 2. JOURNALISTS 3. (SOUNDBITE) (German) SABINE LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ENVOY, SAYING: "The Judge of Meshanski court of Moscow who is dealing with this case told me that he cannot give me the permission to visit the defendants because it is not allowed under Russian legislation." 4. JOURNALISTS 5. (SOUNDBITE) (German) SABINE LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ENVOY, SAYING: "As for the human rights situation in the Russian Federation, I think that in general, and not just in the Russian Federation, the human rights situation is difficult." 6. JOURNALISTS 7. (SOUNDBITE) (German) SABINE LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ENVOY, SAYING: "Everybody is equal before the law and it does not matter how much money people have." 8. WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE 9. SABINE LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER LEAVING Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 11th June 2004 13:00
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Reuters ID: LVA1QFPBJEMNZN8RQ6QHRXVP8WH0
- Story Text: Council of Europe envoy unable to see YUKOS
defendants and says human rights situation in Russia
An envoy of the Council of Europe Parliamentary
Assembly's committee on human rights was not granted
permission to visit former senior executives of Russian oil
major YUKOS, detained on allegations of fraud and tax
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a former German
justice minister, arrived in Moscow on Monday (May 24) to
evaluate the proceedings of the arrest and prosecution of
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who will report back to
the Council of Europe, said at a Moscow news conference on
Thursday (May 27) that she had not been able to talk to
three of the key defendants in the YUKOS affair - former
YUKOS chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, major YUKOS shareholder
Platon Lebedev, and Alexei Pichugin, head of YUKOS'
security department. All three men are in custody after
Russian prosecutors pressed charges of fraud and tax
"The Judge of Meshanski court in Moscow who is dealing
with this case told me that he cannot give me permission to
visit the defendants because it is not allowed under
Russian legislation," said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.
Asked about the general human rights situation in
Russia, she characterised it as "difficult".
"As for the human rights situation in the Russian
Federation, I think that in general, and not just in the
Russian Federation, the human rights situation is
difficult," said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.
Lebedev's trial began on May 20, but was adjourned till
The date of Khodorkovsky's trial on charges of tax
evasion will be set at a hearing on May 28.
Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man, faces up to 10
years in prison if convicted. Some analysts believe the
case has been pressed by the Kremlin to curb his political
Khodorkovsky is one of six major shareholders in YUKOS
-- three others have fled Russia, one has been convicted of
tax evasion and the sixth, Platon Lebedev, faces trial on
similar charges to those faced by Khodorkovsky.
President Vladimir Putin, asked recently what signal
the prosecution of YUKOS shareholders might send to
Russians and Western investors, reiterated earlier comments
that prosecutors were merely upholding the law.
Khodorkovsky has been in jail since his arrest in
Russian tax authorities have launched a campaign
against alleged tax evasion among the country's major
YUKOS itself faces a $3.5 billion bill for back taxes.
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