Mikhail Benyash. Photo: RFE/RL

01 February 2019, 08:36

"Memorial" announces political background in lawyer Benyash's case

The criminal prosecution of Mikhail Benyash, a lawyer from Kuban (Krasnodar Territory), has the aim to prevent him from defending detainees at rallies, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" believes.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that investigators had stopped the case initiated against Mikhail Benyash under the article of obstructing justice; however, he was charged with using violence against a policeman.

Mikhail Benyash was detained on September 9 in Krasnodar along with participants of a rally against the pension reform. According to Mr Benyash, he was beaten up after detention. He served 14 days of arrest appointed to him for disobeying the police. The Amnesty International (AI) has declared him to be a prisoner of conscience; and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called to strip all the charges from Benyash.

Mikhail Benyash was arrested not for some violation, but for his professional activities, the HRC "Memorial" stated on January 31.

“We believe that the lawyer Benyash is being prosecuted for political reasons, since there is obviously no crime event, while the proofs of his guilt had been falsified. According to our assessment, the prosecution is aimed at stopping his defence of citizens detained at rallies, to force him to give up the role of a 'political' advocate and a critic of the current government," says the message posted on the website of the HRC "Memorial".

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 31, 2019 at 10:28 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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