Arson attack on Russian lawyer

Who we wrote to

Mr Yury Chaika, prosecutor general in Russia

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about the situation of Lyudmila Aleksandrova, a lawyer in the Krasnodar region of Russia. Ms Aleksandrova provides legal representation in criminal and administrative cases against law enforcement agencies.

According to our information, on 4 November 2018 Ms Aleksandrova’s car was set on fire when parked next to her house. A few days earlier, Ms Aleksandrova had represented a client who was the only defence witness in the case of Mikhail Benyash.

Mikhail Benyash had come to Krasnodar to provide legal assistance to protestors against pension reform. On 9 September he was arrested in Krasnodar, allegedly beaten by the police, and held in isolation for around eight hours.

Ms Aleksandrova’s client witnessed the ill-treatment of Mr Benyash by police officers.

What we asked for

We respectfully urged the relevant authorities to:

  • carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the harassment and damage to property, with the intention to cause harm and intimidation, suffered by Ms Lyudmila Aleksandrova and bring those responsible to justice
  • carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the beating of Mr Benyash and release him from detention (if he remains in detention), and drop any charges against him, to the extent that no credible evidence is served upon him unless his guilt is established in proceedings that comply with international fair trial guarantees
  • guarantee that Ms Aleksandrova, Mr Benyash and other lawyers and human rights defenders in Russia are able to perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment

Timeline

9 September 2018 – Mikhail Benyash arrested in Krasnodar, allegedly beaten and held in isolation

Early November 2018 – Lyudmila Aleksandrova represented the only defence witness in the case of Mikhail Benyash

4 November 2018 – Ms Aleksandrova’s car set on fire

17 December 2019 – we wrote to Russia’s prosecutor general