08MOSCOW559, RUSSIAN OFFICIALS REPORT BETTER TREATMENT FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW559 2008-02-29 05:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0559/01 0600514
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290514Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6866
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000559 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR KJUS RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN OFFICIALS REPORT BETTER TREATMENT FOR 
ALEKSANYAN 
 
REF: MOSCOW 459 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons: 1.4 (b), (d). 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  GOR officials, including Human Rights 
Ombudsman Lukin and three members of the Public Chamber 
visited former YUKOS Vice President Vasiliy Aleksanyan on 
February 21 in his room in a specialized Moscow hospital. 
They confirmed that Aleksanyan had initially been chained to 
his hospital bed, but they characterized his current 
conditions of confinement as "satisfactory."  A member of 
Russia's civil society called the intervention a "unanimous 
rejection" of the GOR's treatment of Aleksanyan and hoped 
that it meant that human rights organizations would "no 
longer be a puppet" of the Kremlin.  Ambassador raised 
Aleksanyan's treatment February 25 with MFA Deputy Foreign 
Minister Yakovenko, who described Aleksanyan's current 
treatment regime as satisfactory.  End summary. 
 
Chamber Members, Lukin Visit Aleksanyan 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) The Public Chamber members who visited Aleksanyan 
on February 21 included Henry Reznik, Leonid Roshal, and 
Nikolay Svanidze.  Public Chamber member Anatoliy Kucherena 
helped initiate the visit, but was abroad at the time of the 
visit in connection with the new human rights councils he is 
setting up in Paris and New York.  Reznik, who in addition to 
being a member of the Public Chamber is President of the 
Moscow Bar Association, told reporters that contrary to 
statements by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service 
(FSIN), Aleksanyan said he had never refused medical 
treatment for the HIV/AIDS and lymphoma from which he is 
suffering. 
 
3.  (SBU) Public Chamber members were also interested in 
reports from Aleksanyan's lawyers on the conditions of his 
confinement, specifically that he was chained to his bed 
during his first week at the hospital and only set free to go 
to the bathroom.  Svanidze confirmed that initially 
Aleksanyan had been chained to his bed, but noted that the 
handcuffs used to detain Aleksanyan have now been removed. 
Reznik added that Aleksanyan had been chained for ten days 
and termed such treatment "torture."  Reznik harshly 
criticized the decision to treat an innocent suspect who has 
life- threatening illnesses and is accused only of financial 
crimes in such a manner.  FSIN spokesman Aleksandr Sidorov 
said on February 21 that Aleksanyan was chained to his bed 
only when there was no policeman on duty and then only to 
prevent Aleksanyan from escaping or committing suicide. 
 
4.  (SBU) Following his visit, Human Right Ombudsman Lukin 
stated he was satisfied with the current conditions of 
Aleksanyan's confinement, but noted that he had agreed with 
the members of the Public Chamber with whom he had visited 
the hospital not to pass further public judgments on the 
conditions in which Aleksanyan is being held pending the 
preparation of a Public Chamber report.  Lukin praised 
Chamber members for their interest in the conditions in which 
Aleksanyan is being held. 
 
Ambassador Raises with Deputy 
Foreign Minister 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) Deputy FM Yakovenko told the Ambassador February 25 
that he thought Aleksanyan was getting proper medical 
treatment in his current hospital and noted that there are 
"many cases like this, unfortunately," and that it seemed 
"not entirely fair" to focus so much attention on just the 
Aleksanyan case. 
 
Presidential Council 
Member Reacts 
-------------------- 
 
6.  (C) Presidential Council for Human Rights member William 
Smirnov told us February 26 that the intervention by members 
of the Public Chamber and Ombudsman Lukin represented a 
"unanimous rejection" of the treatment of Aleksanyan and that 
their opposition had changed the GOR's treatment of him. 
Smirnov hoped that the ability to get the authorities to 
backpedal on this issue had bolstered civil society and had 
perhaps stimulated it to be more active on other issues. 
Smirnov hoped that reaction to Aleksanyan's treatment 
signified that civil society would be less inclined to be a 
puppet of the next government. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) With visits by Lukin and the three Chamber members, 
the Aleksanyan case has disappeared from the media here. 
Reznik and Svanidze, along with other Chamber members like 
Kucherena, Alla Gerber, and Yevgeniy Yasin are more outspoken 
than many of their colleagues.  With their expressed 
satisfaction with Aleksanyan's current treatment, and their 
condemnation of the practice of periodically chaining him to 
his bed, the standoff between civil society and the GOR over 
the Aleksanyan case seems to have ended. 
BURNS

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