March 23, 2007

‘Today it is crucial that all honest and free people come together’
Platon Lebedev appeals to everyone.
Platon Lebedev has expressed his gratitude to all those who’ve expressed their support for the defenders of ‘the prisoners of the Yukos case’ in the face of the arbitrariness of ‘directed sovereign democracy’. An open letter from him has been published by the For Human Rights movement. A few weeks ago, leading Russian human-rights activists called on everyone to support the defenders of Yukos. The new charges in the Yukos case, they said, were a gauntlet thrown down to society, a signal that all appearances had been abandoned Their letter has already been signed by such prominent figures as Russian writers Vasily Aksionov, Boris Strugatsky and Vladimir Voinovich; former prime-minister Mikhail Kasyanov; and human-rights activists Liudmila Alexeeva and Lev Ponomarev. ‘I, my friend Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Svetlana Bakhmina, whose children have become hostages to the ruling power - along with many others who’ve found themselves oppressed by Basmanny justice - feel it very important to know that thousands of people of very different professions and social strata - writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians, lawyers, students, pensioners and workers - have expressed their solidarity,’ writes Platon Lebedev. ‘The Yukos case is an echo of what happened in the reign of Tsar Ivan IV, when hangmen and informers greedily divided their victims’ property and shamelessly sold it off - though the whole machinery of government is now involved in prosecuting those who won’t obey. ‘Today it is crucial that all honest and free people, who are conscious of their dignity as citizens, come together. Every single one of them is a defender of Russia’s honour and freedom,’ says the letter from Chita.

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