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Missing Passport Sparks Row

Published: November 21, 2012 (Issue # 1736)



  • Lawyers Mark Feigin (l) and Nikolai Polozov (c) outside a Moscow courthouse.
    Photo: RIDUS.RU

MOSCOW A member of female punk band Pussy Riot may ask for her former lawyers to be stripped of their legal status, a news report said Tuesday.

The news came a day after the bands lawyers terminated their contract with the musicians, saying the publicity they had attracted to the case could harm their defendants.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, may petition a legal council to strip the lawyers of their licenses because one of them, Violetta Volkova, whom she fired in early October, has failed to return her passport, the keys to her apartment and the response to the bands complaint to the European Council of Human Rights, Samutsevichs new lawyer Sergei Badamshin told Kommersant.

Mark Feigin, another of the three former lawyers for the band, called Samutsevichs move a defamation campaign against them organized by the authorities and said that the lawyers would hold a news conference in the next few days.

Kommersant claimed to have obtained an official letter written by Samutsevich and dated Nov. 11 to Volkova, Feigin and Nikolai Polozov, the third lawyer, asking them to return her belongings before Nov. 19, which they failed to do, Badamshin said.

Samutsevich told Dozhd television late Monday that she last saw her passport in Volkovas hands on March 16, when a city court sanctioned her arrest.

Sometime after that, the lawyers separately told Samutsevich and her father that they didnt know where her passport was, and the woman had to submit a request to the police to make her a new passport because she had lost the old one, the musician told Dozhd.

The request to disqualify the lawyers would be an extreme measure, which we wouldnt like to be driven to, Badamshin said, according to Kommersant.

Samutsevich was released from custody in early October after she fired Volkova and pleaded partially guilty to the charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred over a February performance at Moscows Christ the Savior Cathedral that denounced President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill.

The court replaced the two-year prison term for Samutsevich with a suspended sentence while the two other performers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, who pleaded not guilty to the charges were convicted and started serving similar terms in late October.

On Monday, the bands lawyers said they were terminating their contracts with Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who will be represented by Irina Khrunova, the lawyer who successfully argued for Samutsevichs release.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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