Urgent appeal for Mikhail Trepashkin

To the EU Presidency-in-office
c/o Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland

Dear Mr. Tuomioja

We, the undersigned Members of the Finnish Parliament from six political parties, and representatives of Finnish civil society organizations, have followed with great concern the aggravating situation of Mikhail Trepashkin, who is held in a prison colony located in the Siberian town of Nizhniy Tagil. Since December 18 he is undergoing a renewed court process for violating prison rules. The process is to be continued in January, possibly resulting in even harsher conditions of detention.[:]

Mikhail Trepashkin, a Moscow attorney and former FSB officer, was arrested on October 24, 2003, a week before he was scheduled to represent in legal proceedings the relatives of a victim in the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. The arrest and trial of Mikhail Trepashkin have raised international concerns about the fate of the rule of law in Russia. Mr. Trepashkin has applied to the European Court of Human Rights for redress, and the Court has declared his application admissible; his present situation should be viewed in the context of alleged abuses against Russian applicants to the court.

Mr. Trepashkin suffers from chronic, life-threatening asthma and should be transferred to a hospital without delay. Under Russian law he is entitled to this, but the head of the prison objects to such a transfer, against the opinion of the head of the health department. According to Mr. Trepashkin’s lawyers, an ambulance from outside the prison was needed most recently during the night of December 18-19 and again on December 19.

We request that you, as the representative of the acting EU Presidency, in cooperation with the forthcoming German Presidency, will do your utmost to convince the Russian authorities about the urgent need to provide Mr. Trepashkin with access to medical care and transfer to a hospital.

We likewise request that the EU Presidency will ensure the presence of diplomatic observers at the court proceedings of Mr. Trepashkin, when the process is continued in the New Year.

Yours respectfully,

Ulla Anttila MP
Heidi Hautala MP
Kimmo Kiljunen MP
Aila Paloniemi MP
Kimmo Sasi MP
Astrid Thors MP
Kari Uotila MP

Frank Johansson, Director, Amnesty International Finnish section

Jan Koskimies, Secretary general, Committee of 100.

Laura Lodenius, Executive director, Finnish Peace Union – UN Association

Jukka Mallinen, President, Finnish PEN

Teemu Matinpuro, Secretary general & Anu Harju, Project coordinator, Finnish
Peace Committee

Tapani Mattila, Chairman & Eva Martinsen, Secretary, Finland Chechnya Society

Mikael Storsjö, Chairman, Pro Caucasus

Nina Suomalainen, Chairperson, Finnish Helsinki Committee