Human Rights Court Rules Ex-Yukos Security Head Trial Unfair

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that there were procedural violations in the trial of a former Yukos security chief, who was sentenced to life on murder charges, the court said on Tuesday.


The panel of judges partially upheld an application by Alexei Pichugin, the former head of the security service of the defunct Russian oil company Yukos, and awarded him 6,500 euro (about $8,400) in compensation for moral damage and 3,000 euro ($3,900) for costs and expenses.


Pichugin had claimed 170,000 euro (approximately $222,000) in costs and 20,000 euro ($26,000) for other damages.


The court 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 ill-founded.


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 claims, and the company was broken up and sold off to meet debts. The bulk of its assets were bought up by government-controlled oil company Rosneft.


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