Mikhail Benyash at the court session in Krasnodar, September 25, 2018. Photo by Alexei Avedisyan

13 February 2019, 11:11

Court bans journalists to attend sessions on Benyash's case

The policemen found as victims in the case of the Krasnodar lawyer Mikhail Benyash have opposed the presence of journalists at the court sessions; and their petition was granted, the defence reports, noting that this decision is contrary to the open nature of the court sessions.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the case of the lawyer Mikhail Benyash, accused of using violence against a policeman, caused a great resonance. The Amnesty International recognized him to be a prisoner of conscience. The Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" has warned the authorities that the criminal prosecution of Benyash threatens the independence of the legal profession and the observance of citizens' right to legal protection. The goal of prosecuting Mr Benyash is to prevent him from defending detainees at rallies, the HRC "Memorial" believes.

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.

On February 12, at a preliminary hearing, the court banned to take photo and video filming during open sessions.

Alexander Popkov, one of the advocates, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that the female judge had failed to issue a respective resolution. "All of a sudden for all of us, she found it impossible for media professionals to attend the sessions, allegedly to ensure the protection of the honour and dignity of the victims. When I asked to give me the resolution that the trial is closed for mass media, the judge began expelling me from the courtroom and intimidating me with court marshals," Mr Popkov said.

"The court has shown its bias from the very start of the trial. It hasn't yet begun considering the case on the merits, but we see so many violations and such an attitude," the advocate Popkov has noted.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 12, 2019 at 08:47 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Anna Gritsevich; Source: CK correspondent

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