Rule of law

Ongoing judicial harassment of Russian human rights lawyer

Who we wrote to

The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation.

What’s the issue

Mikhail Benyash, a Russian human rights lawyer, was violently arrested on 23 September 2018 while providing legal assistance to protestors.

On 11 October 2019, the Leninsky District court of Krasnodar found him guilty of “exercising violence against a representative of authority”.

We believe that the arrest and charges brought against Mr Benyash are related to his work as a human rights lawyer and could be construed as judicial harassment.

What we asked for

We called on the Russian authorities to:

  • drop all charges brought against Mr Benyash unless credible evidence is presented at the proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards
  • cease the judicial harassment of Mr Benyash and allow him to perform his professional duties

Timeline

September 2018 – Mr Benyash was violently arrested while providing legal assistance to protestors for “resisting police’s legitimate orders” and subsequently charged with “violence against a representative of authority” and “obstruction of justice”

December 2018 – we wrote to the Russian authorities following Mr Benyash’s arrest

January 2019 – Mr Benyash’s criminal case was transferred to Leninsky Regional Court of Krasnodar and he was charged with “the use of violence (not dangerous to health) in relation to representative of the authority”

October 2019 – the Leninsky District of Krasnodar found Mr Benyash guilty of “exercising violence against a representative of authority” and fined him 30,000 RUB. The Krasnodar Regional Court later overturned a two-month pre-trial detention order and ordered his release subject to a 600,000 RUB bail payment

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