Home > Mikhail Khodorkovsky, trial > Witness Testimony Exposes Illegal Practices of Prosecution and Bias of Judge in Khodorkovsky and Lebedev Trial

Witness Testimony Exposes Illegal Practices of Prosecution and Bias of Judge in Khodorkovsky and Lebedev Trial

A witness in the trial of former Head of YUKOS oil Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and former Group Menatep Director Platon Lebedev, revealed in court on Monday 23rd November that a secret and illegal parallel investigation is underway for a new case against the two political prisoners, used by the prosecution to put pressure on witnesses.

Nadezhda Sheck, a former employee of the International Financial Alliance MENATEP said during her cross-examination in court that investigators: summoned her into the Prosecutors Offices on Wednesday 18th November, just two days before her testimony in court on Friday and was interrogated regarding a new investigation against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Ms Sheck signed a non-disclosure agreement and was prevented from sharing any additional information in court on the subject of her questioning last week.

This new information shared by the witness in open court on Monday is a clear example of how the prosecution continue to use illegal tactics and place undue pressure on witnesses before giving their testimony in court. Under Russian law, use of secret parallel investigations against defendants to obtain information or meet with witnesses in the ongoing trial is prohibited practice.

In response to the witness’ revelation, Judge Viktor Danilkin openly aided and abetted the prosecution, threatening Ms Shek with criminal liability if she discussed further details of her recent interrogation.

Commenting on the new evidence of corrupt practices by the prosecution and Judge Danilkin’s reaction, Vadim Klyuvgant, Khodorkovsky’s Lead Defence Lawyer, said:

“The whole time this second case has been going on, we have been relentlessly insisting that there is a parallel investigation taking place. What the witness Shek said – this is just one of a multitude of illustrations, evidence that there is a parallel inquiry going on – constantly, ceaselessly, secretly, and illegally.”

“…the behaviour of the presiding judge…shows a major shift in his position. If before he merely sat by silently and did not try to stop all this illegal activity by the party of the prosecution as a whole – both that of the prosecutors in the courtroom and that of the investigative bodies behind their backs, about which we are learning – today he openly aided and abetted them. He helped conceal the traces of this activity, even to the point of intimidating the witness, even to the point of obvious discrimination against the defence in relation to the prosecution during the questioning of the witness, when the prosecution has the opportunity to ask everything it wants, irrespective of whether this does or does not bear a relation to the case.”

“…the court has no right to intimidate a witness. A witness in court is obligated by law to answer all questions irrespective of any other circumstances whatsoever. Intimidating a witness with some kind of consequences of some kind of written undertaking, made with respect to some obscure case — this is simply a complete and total outrage.”

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