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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Criminal mastermind and fallen political aide Yury Shutov is taking the government to court for a rigged trial and a hefty sentence to life

Criminal mastermind and fallen political aide Yury Shutov is taking the government to court for a rigged trial and a hefty sentence to life in a penal colony.
And his case has been accepted by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg where Shutov believes it has “great chances”.

Jekyll and Hyde
Shutov was an adviser to Anatoly Sobchak, first democratically elected mayor of St. Petersburg and mentor to Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin.
But as well as an establishment role, he was known in St. Petersburg criminal circles as The Pope and is currently serving a life sentence for heading an underworld gang and coordinating the murders of lawyer Igor Dubovkin, banker and oil high-flyer Dmitry Filippov, and a gang member guilty of ‘indiscipline.’
He and members of his gang were found not guilty of murdering Defence Research Institute Istochnik chairman Nikolai Bolotovsky, Consumer Market Authority Committee deputy head Evgeny Agarev, and of conspiracy to murder journalist Alexander Nevzorov and North-West deputy presidential envoy Andrei Stepanov

Government in the dock
Shutov’s lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky told Kommersant that his client’s case had “great chances” at Strasbourg. “I am certain that the European court will take the side of Shutov… the successful acquittal of the ex-deputy will require a fresh examination of his case before the jury.”
He cited a violation of article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees a fair trial.
Shutov was convicted in 2006 and launched his application for an appeal the same year. He was informed the other day that the European court would consider his appeal, reported.

An unfair trial
The Strasbourg court sent a letter to the Russian government asking it to clarify certain aspects of the proceedings against Shutov. In particular, the presence of lay judges at the trial, despite their abolition before the case came to court, removing defendants from the courtroom during the hearing, and questions over the trial’s transparency. Answers must be back by Jan. 18, 2011.
Shutov’s trial was one of the first organised crime cases in St. Petersburg and amid tensions over security the trial was held in prison, over several years. Shutov’s lawyers repeatedly said that their client’s health could not stand the rigours of the proceedings against him.
Despite being in prison he was re-elected to the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly and ran for Duma elections. He was removed from the courtroom after a series of demonstrations. He says that his prosecution and conviction are because of his “struggle with the thieves who stole our motherland.”
Shutov was sentences with 14 of his gang. Some were Afghanistan and Chechen veterans and all received prison sentences. Four of them, including Shutov, received life sentences. He is now serving his term at the Bely Lebed (White Swan) penal colony in the Urals

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