Valery Grebennikov, first deputy chairman of the Duma committee for civil, criminal, arbitration and procedural legislation, believes the talk about political undertones of the Yukos cases to be unsubstantiated.
"There is no ground to talk about political undertones in the cases of Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and Pichugin," the parliamentarian told RIA Novosti. He attended the session of the PACE Commission for Legal Issues in Berlin.
In his opinion, there are no such grounds because the abovementioned people are facing specific charges - fraud and tax evasion. Pichugin is also accused of organising murders.
"Certainly, only court can prove this and pass a sentence," the parliamentarian said.
Grebennikov expressed regret that due to insufficient information provided to the European public about the real circumstances and the legal side of the criminal cases against some Yukos staff members, people abroad misinterpret the essence of it. "There are even obvious attempts to exert pressure on the Russian court in the media," the parliamentarian said.
"We are calling on the European community to refrain from such pressure," he stated.
According to Grebennikov, "the idea that everybody is equal in front of the law should become a norm. Certainly, strict compliance with the law, including procedural norms, individual rights and human freedoms, is an essential in forming a law-based democracy in Russia.
According to Russian officials, the detainees are employees of the private security company who were on their way to Latin America via Minsk and Istanbul. Lukashenko calls Russian officials liars