Russian Federation: authorities must repudiate intimidation of lawyer
Today, the ICJ expressed concern at the allegations of harassment of lawyer Shamil Magomedov following an acquittal of his client Sulntankhan Ibragimov, who had been accused of murder.
The allegations should be investigated and authorities must make clear to law enforcement officials that such intimidation and harassment is prohibited, the ICJ said.
Yesterday, the lawyer alleged that on 19 October, while he was in Moscow, a law enforcement officer visited his home in Dagestan and questioned his family members about his whereabouts and “why he complained so much to law enforcement bodies”.
The lawyer believes this is related to the acquittal of his client, Sulntankhan Ibragimov, in whose case a decision had been delivered three days before.
When the matter was raised in court, Prosecutor Magomed Aliyev claimed the law enforcement officer’s visit was routine.
The ICJ considers that in the circumstances, the visit to and questioning by a law enforcement officer of a lawyer’s family about his professional activities could only reasonably be understood as a form of intimidation or harassment.
International standards, such as the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, provide that governments must ensure that lawyers “are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference” and “shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.”
The ICJ calls on the relevant prosecutorial and law enforcement authorities to make clear to all their officials that all intimidation and harassment of lawyers, including by visiting and questioning a lawyer’s family about the lawyer’s protected professional activities, is prohibited.
Shamil Magomedov, a lawyer from Dagestan, defended Sultankhan Ibragimov in a case where he was charged with the muder of Alisultan Omarov, a Greco-Roman wrestling coach, in 2015 and the murder in 2016 of Nazim Gadjiev, the leader of the “Sadval” movement.
On 16 October, the jury trial found Sultankhan Ibragimov not guilty on all accounts.
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