The International Bar Association (IBA) has waded into a growing row over the treatment of lawyers in Russia.
The co-chairs of the IBA Human Rights Institute, Justice Richard Goldstone and Martin Šolc, wrote to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev this month expressing their concern over a recent series of incidents involving lawyers in the country.
They highlighted Firestone Duncan, the Moscow office of which was raided last year in connection with an alleged fraud relating to HSBC and Hermitage Capital Management.
In the letter Goldstone and Šolc highlight details of Firestone Duncan lawyer Sergey Magnitskiy’s experience, who was arrested following a search of his home and office.
Prior to his arrest, the letter says, Magnitskiy had apparently given witness statements detailing the complicity of Interior Ministry officials in the alleged frauds.
“We understand that he has since been held without bail in a Moscow pre-trial detention facility,” it adds. “We call on you to ensure that all lawyers and judges are able to carry out their duties without fear of intimidation or harassment.”
Earlier this month (22 June) The Lawyer reported that the Moscow offices of DLA Piper and White & Case were also raided by government authorities.