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Lev Ponomarev: ‘I refuse to have anything to do with this judicial comedy’

30 April 2013

Source: For Human Rights 

Human rights defender Lev Ponomarev has refused to take part in a court hearing at which he faced charges for failing to provide materials to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. On 30 April Justice of the Peace Aleksei Dmitrievich Gorodilov, of Moscow judicial district No. 383, heard the administrative case against Lev Ponomarev, executive director of the Foundation for Protection of Prisoners’ Rights. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office called for human rights defender Lev Ponomarev to be fined under Article 17.7 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation for refusing to provide the Public Prosecutor’s Office with materials required from the organization. 

Lev Ponomarev was represented in court by legal counsel Valentina Bokareva. The judge dismissed a whole series of petitions made by the defence concerning permission to film, the making of the official record of the hearing, and moving the hearing to another day because the representative of the Prosecutor’s Office – assistant prosecutor from Mashchansky interdistrict Prosecutor’s Office - could not state the case for the prosecution, saying that only the General Prosecutor’s Office has all the information. Lev Ponomarev and his lawyer Valentina Bokareva said that the inspections, conducted on the basis of an Instruction issued by the General Prosecutor’s Office of 27 December 2012 on combating extremism, are unlawful since the given Instruction which concerns human rights and freedoms has not been officially published, and since it was not explained precisely what violation of the law was being investigated. 

The assistant prosecutor, unable to respond to the questions of the defence, asked for the hearing to be postponed, and then simply left the courtroom, forcing the judge to send someone to look for her in the building. 

In the upshot the judge, having skipped hearing the views of the two sides, fined Lev Ponomarev 2,000 roubles. 

When the hearing of the second case started in connection with the organization Hotline (of which Lev Ponomarev is also director), Lev Ponomarev said that he did not intend to take part in a ‘judicial comedy’ and left the courtroom.