MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government has challenged the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that there were procedural violations in the trial of former Yukos security chief Alexei Pichugin, who was sentenced to life in prison on murder charges, his lawyer Ksenia Kostromina said on Monday.
On October 23, 2012, the ECHR partially granted Pichugin’s petition and awarded him €6,500 (about $8,400) in compensation for moral damages and €3,000 ($3,900) for legal expenses. Pichugin had claimed €170,000 (about $222,000) in expenses and €20,000 ($26,000) in other damages.
“I have received a letter from the ECHR, saying that Russia has appealed this ruling with the [ECHR] Grand Chamber. The appeal came on January 22,” Kostromina told the Rapsi legal and judicial news agency.
She said earlier that the ECHR’s ruling on the Pichugin case had gone into force, as the legal three-month term for an appeal had expired on January 24. Kostromina had no information about the appeal at the time.
The Grand Chamber will rule within three months whether to accept Russia’s appeal for consideration, she said.
“Until the decision on the appeal is made, I will not know anything about its substance,” she said.
In October, the ECHR unanimously ruled “the complaints concerning… the alleged unfairness of the criminal proceedings against him admissible and the rest of the application inadmissible.” It also upheld complaints over the alleged unlawfulness and excessive length of Pichugin’s detention, the alleged violation of his right to a speedy judicial decision over the legality of his detention and the lack of a public hearing.
The judges rejected Pichugin’s claims of inhumane conditions and lack of medical assistance in Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center as manifestly unfounded.
Pichugin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for murdering a businessman and a Siberian oil town mayor, and for the attempted murder of another businessman. He pleaded not guilty.
Once Russia’s largest oil producer, Yukos collapsed following tax evasion charges, and the company was broken up and sold off to repay its debts. The bulk of its assets were bought by the government-controlled oil company Rosneft.