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Russian Foreign Ministry: Lawyer Grabovsky’s murder no accident but systemic situation

March 31, 2016, 20:24 UTC+3

"Everything we see now means that Ukraine has a long way to go to true justice, and that the state cannot guarantee life to its citizens," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says

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Yuri Grabovsky

Yuri Grabovsky

© Sergey Reznik/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. The murder of Ukrainian lawyer Yuri Grabovsky who defended in court the interests of Russian citizen Alexander Alexandrov is no accident but a systemic situation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"The other day, a video was made public in some media by Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office of the alleged voluntary refusal of Ukrainian lawyer Yuri Grabovsky who was found shot dead recently to defend in court Russian national, former military service member Alexander Alexandrov," she said. "What I saw leaves no doubt that Grabovsky was forced to take such step by those who disliked his active and principled activities in the case of our fellow countryman."

"The situation with other Ukrainian lawyer, Oksana Sokolovskaya, calls attention to itself," Zakharova noted. "She defends in court Russian national Yevgeny Yerofeyev. Once Oksana Sokolovskaya demonstrated a professional approach and lack of bias towards her client, she immediately came in sight of the Ukrainian authorities."

"If it were not for the persecution of the two lawyers, someone might think this [Grabovsky’s murder] was a mere accident," Zakharova said. "However, this is no accident, unfortunately, this is a systemic situation. This is pressure, this is persecution, this is the harassment of the people who carry out their professional duties. Everything we see now means that Ukraine has a long way to go to true justice, and that the state cannot guarantee life to its citizens."

She compared the situation with the persecution of the lawyers of Russian nationals in Ukraine with the work of lawyers of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko. "It’s not just that her lawyers had no restrictions in their activity, they felt absolutely free".

Zakharova noted she had never heard any statements with threats coming from representatives of the executive powers, representatives of the state amid provocations coming from the lawyers themselves. "There was nothing that could be interpreted as pressure or persecution of Nadezhda Savchenko’s lawyers," she said.

"When we see and hear the statements of our foreign colleagues to the effect that the Savchenko trial in Russia was wrong, unjust, illegal, we would like to ask: why do we hear nothing about, for example, the murder of Yuri Grabovsky?" Zakharova said.

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