Legal Cases of the Week: In separate cases, lawyers Mansur Gilmanov and Mikhail Benyash both jailed for five days. Gilmanov was also assaulted by police.

Week-ending 29 January 2021

Mikhail Benyash and Mansur Gilmanov © 2021 Private via Human Rights Watch

On 22 January 2021, the lawyer Mansur Gilmanov was jailed for five days for ‘failing to obey police instructions.’ Gilmanov had gone to the police station the previous evening to see his client, Vladlen Los, a lawyer working for Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, who had been detained. In the police station he was assaulted. As Human Rights Watch reports, an ‘officer ran up to him, knocked him to the floor, kicked him several times, and shouted obscenities.’ For several hours, Gilmanov was not allowed to see a lawyer. The Moscow regional bar has appealed the ruling in his case and nearly 300 lawyers have signed an open letter condemning the attack on Gilmanov and calling for police accountability.

The same day Mikhail Benyash, a lawyer in Krasnodar, was jailed for five days for allegedly organising an ‘unauthorised protest.’ The day before he had posted a call on Facebook for lawyers to provide legal support to protesters during the protest planned for 23 January 2021. Police had then searched his apartment and confiscated computer equipment. The local Krasnodar bar association condemned the court ruling against Benyash as unlawful .


Damelya Aitkhozhina, ‘Detained and Prosecuted for Defending Protesters in Russia. A Story of Two Lawyers Highlights a Bigger Problem with Russia’s Justice System, Human Rights Watch, 30 January 2021

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