Moscow Court Seeks Prominent Lawyer’s Arrest in Absentia

MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow’s Presnensky Court issued a warrant for arrest in absentia on Wednesday for prominent lawyer Boris Kuznetsov, now residing in the United States, who is accused of divulging state secrets.

An investigator who applied to the court for the warrant said Kuznetsov was evading the investigation.

Kuznetsov’s lawyer Ruslan Zakalyuzhny denied his client was evading anything, and said the charges should be dropped due to the expiry of the statute of limitations, since the incident over which he was charged took place in 2006.

In that year, Kuznetsov acted as the lawyer for former Kalmykia Region senator Levon Chakhmakhchyan, whom the Supreme Court considered stripping of his parliamentary immunity over accusations of embezzlement.

Kuznetsov, who pledged not to reveal state secrets in the case, took a picture of an FSB document containing information about wiretaps of Chakhmakhchyan’s telephone conversations.

He later showed a copy of this document to a colleague and then submitted it to the Supreme Court. The following year, Kuznetsov was charged in Russia with divulging state secrets and he fled to the United States asking for asylum, which he was granted in 2008.

Moscow’s Tverskoi Court issued a warrant to detain Kuznetsov in absentia in 2007, but in 2009 the warrant was withdrawn, according to the RAPSI legal news agency.

Kuznetsov, born in 1944, has worked as a lawyer on many prominent criminal and human rights cases. He represented the families of the 118 sailors who perished on board the Russian Navy’s Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000, the relatives of murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya, media NGO director Manana Aslamazyan, jailed scientist Igor Sutyagin and many others.


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