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IBA calls for release of Russian lawyer
Explosion in apartment building that came under fire from Russian army in Mariupol, Ukraine PIC: Shutterstock

24 Aug 2022 / human rights Print

IBA calls for release of Russian lawyer

The International Bar Association (IBA) has condemned the arrest and pre-trial detention of a Russian lawyer who criticised his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The lawyers’ body says that Dmitry Talantov (President of the Bar Association of the Republic of Udmurtia) has been charged with the dissemination of “deliberately false information” under a new Russian law: article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code.

This covers “public dissemination of knowingly false information about use of the Russian armed forces abroad, and execution by the Russian government bodies of their powers, committed with motives of enmity or hatred”.

Constitution ‘disregarded’

Talantov has been detained since being arrested on 28 June, after he had posted comments on the social-media platform Facebook on 3 April.

On 19 August, the Cheryomushki Court of Moscow extended the detention of Talantov to at least 23 September.

IBA President Sternford Moyo called for the release of Talantov, and for all charges against him to be dropped.

He argued that the arrest and prolonged detention of the lawyer was an example of the authorities in Russia disregarding the country’s Constitution.

“Article 29 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees freedom of thought and speech to everyone. It contains the right to freely seek, receive, transmit, produce and disseminate information in any legal way,” said Moyo, who added that the reality was “very different”.

Conditions concern IBA

The IBA referred to reports that Talantov did not have access to his lawyer during questioning, and that law-enforcement officers carried out searches of four premises linked to him – including his dwellings and the Udmurtia Bar Association’s office.

“It is reported that the conditions in which Talantov is being held are poor, and that he has been denied medical assistance,” the IBA said.

The association also stated that the Russian Federal Bar Association, which has the remit to protect the professional rights of lawyers, had taken “no significant action” to protect Talantov’s rights.

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