The Public Monitoring Commission (POC) of Moscow has confirmed that a former employee of the Yukos oil company, Alexei Pichugin, who is serving a life sentence in the murder case in the Black Dolphin colony in Sol-Iletsk, is currently in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow. POC representatives asked for a meeting with Pichunin in the pre-trial detention center, but they were denied, the executive secretary of the POC Alexey Melnikov said on his Telegram channel on Saturday evening, July 10.
According to Melnikov, the human rights activists were refused, citing the fact that Pichugin, like all the prisoners who arrived, must go through a 21-day quarantine. The arguments that the POC members were either already vaccinated or had been ill and therefore did not pose a threat of infection did not work on the administration. Human rights activists left a complaint against the actions of the FSIN employees, who, according to Melnikov, violated their right to unhindered visits to places of detention. Alexey Melnikov promised that the POC members will continue to try to get to Pichugin.
Alexey Pichugin’s stage
On July 1, sources for “Novaya Gazeta” reported that Pichugin was taken out of the colony IK-6 in the Orenburg region “Black Dolphin” in an unknown direction. A TASS source then stated that Pichugin was convoyed “to carry out investigative measures”, but did not specify exactly where. Meanwhile, Novaya Gazeta, referring to sources in the penitentiary system, said that Pichugin had been convoyed to testify against the ex-head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been accused in Russia of organizing murders and attempted murders since 2015.
On July 7, it became known that Pichugin, who has been in prison for 18 years, has renounced his lawyers, with whom he had concluded an agreement for many years. According to Novaya’s sources, he was forced to do so. The Investigative Committee and the Federal Penitentiary Service did not comment on this information.
Judgment on the claim of Yukos shareholders
Pichugin’s removal from the colony took place two months before the Dutch Supreme Court issued a final decision on the claim of Yukos shareholders against Russia for payment of $ 57 billion for illegal expropriation of assets. It is expected that the court in the Netherlands will announce this decision on September 24.
In 2005-2007, the Moscow City Court twice found Pichugin guilty of organizing a series of murders and assassinations in the interests of the YUKOS company. The prosecutors based the main charges against him on the testimony of convicted murderers and rapists, Novaya Gazeta points out. Some of them later withdrew their testimony, admitting that they followed the lead of the investigators, who, according to them, promised them concessions and reduced terms.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has twice recognized the trials of Pichugin in Russia as unfair and pointed out the need to review the sentences. Pichugin applied for pardon to the Russian authorities three times, but all of them were rejected.