Ivan Pavlov (lawyer)

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Ivan Y. Pavlov (Иван Юрьевич Павлов, born 1971 in St. Petersburg, Soviet Union) is a Russian lawyer and open government activist. Participated in development of the Russian federal and regional freedom of information legislation.[1] Specializes in protecting the right to access to governmental information in Russia, and defending citizens from ungrounded accusations of disclosing state secrets, high treason, and espionage. Also focuses on raising public awareness regarding the need for modern legislation on state secrets and the use of current legislation as a means of repression.

Biography[edit]

In 1997, Pavlov received his J.D. degree from St. Petersburg State University, and was admitted to the Russian defense bar. Pavlov received his Candidate of Law Science degree (Ph.D.) in 2009 from the Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences.

From 1998-2004, Ivan Pavlov headed the Environmental Human Rights Center Bellona (St.-Petersburg, Russia).

FOI initiatives[edit]

In 2004, Ivan Pavlov founded the Foundation “Institute for Information Freedom Development”, or Freedom of Information Foundation (FIF).[2] For ten years, FIF rendered legal assistance to citizens and organizations, defending their rights to information access. FIF specialists also audited government bodies' official websites for compliance with actual FOI legislation requirements.

In 2014, FIF was included in the state register of "foreign agent" NGOs. After a series of court hearings when Ivan Pavlov and other lawyers of the FIF contested the "foreign agent" status, the Freedom of Information Foundation formally suspended its activities.

However, the work has not ceased. Several ex-FIF staff members, leading by Pavlov, are now joined by Team 29,[3] the only Russian non-governmental initiative performing professional defense of the citizens’ right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce, and distribute information by legal means. Team 29 is working in a new format for Russia without creating a legal entity – as a free partnership of lawyers, journalists, and civil activists.[4]

Team 29[edit]

In 2015, Ivan Pavlov became leader of the Team 29, an informal association of lawyers and journalists.[5] After suspension of the FIF activities, some of its team (lawyers and journalists), led by Pavlov, continued working in a new format. Since February 2015, the Team 29 protects citizens’ rights to information in courts and performs public outreach activities, publishing materials on governmental closeness and legal advice for citizens at the Team 29 website.

High-profile cases[edit]

Access to information[edit]

Access to texts of national standards[edit]

In 2006, Ivan Pavlov initiated a court case that resulted in a judicial obligation for the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rostechregulirovanie, its brief name was then) to publish texts of national standards online.[6] Before that, the wide public could get access to the standards only for fee. FIF lawyers won their victory in the first court instance in February 2006. The Rostechregulirovanie filed a cassation appeal. Its hearing was scheduled for May 23, 2006, but the federal agency’s officials did not attend the court then. The hearing session was adjourned up to June 8. Meanwhile, on May 31, 2006, Ivan Pavlov was assaulted and taken off to hospital with head injuries. Since the assaulters took none of his personal belongings, Pavlov links the assault with his professional activities, namely with the case on open online access to national standards. The criminal case was initiated but the criminals are not yet found.

Contesting of the presidential decree on classification of information on military personnel losses in the time of peace[edit]

In 2015 lawyers of the Team 29, led by Pavlov, prepared a claim against President Putin's Decree classifying information on military personnel losses within special operations in the time of peace.[7] The claim is supported by well-known human rights activists and journalists also realizing that the Decree will help the state authorities to suppress and attempts to cover the situation at the Ukrainian South-East. The applicants argued that Putin had exceeded his powers by classifying information about military losses (Russia’s Constitution clearly states that the constitutional right to freely seek, receive and circulate information can only be restricted by federal law).[8] On August 13, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has ruled that the Decree is legal.[9] The ruling gives the grounds to apply to the Constitutional Court and force a proper assessment of how information in Russia is classified as state secret.

Defense of citizens persecuted by state security bodies[edit]

For more than 20 years, Ivan Pavlov has been defending rights of citizens charged by state security bodies of high treason, unlawful access to security bodies’ secret archives, or state secret disclosure.[10] According to statistical data of the Judicial Department under the Supreme Court of Russia, during the period from 2010 to the first half of 2017, sentences were given for 57 cases on Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Russia (high treason), 11 cases on Article 206 (espionage), and 137 cases on Article 283 (state secret disclosure). Zoya Svetova, a Russian human rights journalist, defines the current state of affairs as immersion of Russia by “spy mania”.[11]

High treason cases[edit]

The Alexander Nikitin case[edit]

Ivan Pavlov defended Alexander Nikitin, an environmentalist accused of high treason for having prepared a research report The Northern Fleet: A Potential Radioactive Contamination Threat for the Region.[12] Nikitin was detained from February to December 1996; his case was widely covered by media, NGOs, and political organizations of Russia and Europe[17]. Amnesty International recognized Nikitin as a prisoner of conscience.[13] In 1998, the court sent back the case for further investigation[19]. In 2000, Nikitin was fully acquitted by the Supreme Court of Russia.[14]

The Grigory Pasko case[edit]

Pavlov also represented in court interests of Grigory Pasko, a military journalist arrested in 1997 and accused of high treason (Article 275). They said that when the journalist had been going to travel by air from Russia to Japan, some documents had been withdrawn from him and their preliminary study had shown that they had contained information comprising state secret.[15] The Amnesty International recognized Pasko, too, as a prisoner of conscience.[16] In 1999, the military court of the Pacific Fleet sentenced Pasko to a year of imprisonment for abuse of official powers and immediately included in the amnesty and released from the court room.[17]

In 2000, the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of Russia canceled Pasko’s sentence and the case was sent back for re-examination. On December 25, 2001, the military court of the Pacific Fleet found Pasko guilty of high treason in the form of espionage and sentenced him to four years of imprisonment. Having stayed in a penal colony for more than half a year, Pasko was released on parole.[18]

The Svetlana Davydova case[edit]

Ivan Pavlov rendered legal defense to Svetlana Davydova, a mother of many children, who had been accused of high treason for a phone call to the Ukrainian embassy. Davydova became the very first one accused in accordance with the new provisions of the Article 275 (approved in 2012) stating that any assistance to a foreign state or organization, or to its representative, in activities aimed against security of the Russian state, is considered as high treason.[19] The Davydova case is the first known face of accusation of espionage in favor of Ukraine since beginning of the military conflict in the east of Ukraine.

According to the investigation, in April 2014, Svetlana Davydova noticed that a military unit placed near her home was empty. Later, she heard how a serviceman from that military unit told that he and his comrades-in-arms were sent on a mission. Davydova informed the Ukrainian embassy on that. Eightr months later, on January 21, 2015, she was arrested by a FSB operational group.[20]

On February 1, 2015, Davydova dismissed her assigned counsel and replaced him to Ivan Pavlov and Sergey Badamshin. After entrance of independent defending attorneys in her case, she withdrew her previous testimony, explaining that she had made it under pressure.[21] On March 13, 2015, Davydova’s attorneys informed that the criminal case against her was terminated due to absence of crime.[22]

The Gennady Kravtsov case

In May 2014, Gennady Kravtsov, ex-officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate, was detained in Moscow upon suspicion of high treason. He left the service in the Main Intelligence Directorate in 2005 and had a foreign travel passport since 2011.[23] The FSB public relations center informed that the case was initiated because Kravtsov had been supposed some information on Russian space intelligence activities to email to the radio engineering center of the Swedish ministry for defense. Kravtsov’s wife, meanwhile, stated that he submitted a job resume to a Swedish organization and it was rejected since he was not a Swedish citizen. Kravtsov’s defense team states that the resume contained no information comprising state secret.[24]

As Kravtsov’s defending attorney, Ivan Pavlov stated that the defense never denied the mere fact of resume submission but argued against the statement that the resume had contained any information comprising state secret. On September 21, 2015, the Moscow City Court sentenced Kravtsov to 14 years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony. On February 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of Russia revised Kravtsov’s sentence and reduced his imprisonment term to 6 years.[25]

The Evgeny Petrin case

Pavlov represented interests of Evgeny Petrin who had worked in the Moscow Patriarchy department of external church relations and was detained in June 2014 upon accusation of high treason.[26] According to the investigation, Petrin had provided to the CIA representatives a piece of information comprising state secret when he had worked in the department of external church relations. Petrin himself stated that he was a FSB Captain and had worked in the church department under cover. His brother stated that Evgeny had detected a Ukrainian businessman who, according to Petrin’s information, “had assisted to dissent between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian one, had performed anti-Russian activities in Ukraine, and had recruited people, e.g., in Russian government bodies”. Evgeny Petrin more than once asked the security bodies to initiate a criminal case against that person. However, according to his brother, neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the FSB had been interested in that so that “they decided to discredit Evgeny, to make him a traitor”.[27]

On June 14, 2016, Petrin was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony and to a fine of 200 thousand rubles for espionage in favor of the US.[28] Pavlov, as Petrin’s defending attorney, says that Petrin was “coerced” into confession. Pavlov assesses Petrin’s sentence as “a compromise between severity of accusation and failure of evidence”: “The prosecutor demanded a cruel punishment, 19 years of imprisonment, and the Moscow City Court sentenced Evgeny to a minimal term of 12 years. Had he been really guilty, they should have punished him to the full extent. The court decision on a minimal term shows that it wend hard with the prosecution”.[29]

The Sochi cases

In December 2016, Ivan Pavlov told about his new case in an interview for the Meduza.[30] He then started defending Oksana Sevastidi sentenced by the Krasnodar Territorial Court to seven years of imprisonment in March 2016 for high treason.[31] It was in 2008, before the military conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that Sevastidi saw a train with military equipment moving in the direction of Abkhazia, and sent some SMS messages to an acquaintance of hers. In the beginning of 2015, she was arrested by security bodies who considered her SMSs high treason. Earlier, one similar case was known: Ekaterina Kharebava, a market saleswoman from Sochi, was in 2014 sentenced by the Krasnodar Territorial Court to six years of imprisonment for espionage. According to the investigation, in 2008 summer, Kharebava informed a military representative of Georgia on Russian troops’ movement.[32]

According to Sevastidi, her first defending counsel, Ruslan Zurnadzhyan, made in fact nothing to defend her and never visited her in the pre-trial detention center.[33] The Krasnodar Territory Bar Chamber inspected Zurnadzhyan’s actions and found offense in them[50]. On December 23, 2016, President Vladimir Putin at his annual press conference promised to pay attention to Sevastidi’s sentence.[34] In February 2017, the Memorial human rights center recognized Sevastidi a political prisoner.[35] On March 7, 2017, President Putin signed a decree granting pardon to Sevastidi.[36] On March 15, the Supreme Court of Russia revised her sentence and reduced the punishment term from 7 to 3 years.[37] After her release, Sevastidi told about Annik Kesyan, one more woman convicted for a SMS.[38]

The Team 29 found that since 2013, the Krasnodar Territorial Court had issued at least ten sentences in case on high treason and espionage, convicting Ekaterina Kharebava, Oksana Sevastidi, Annik Kesyan, Marina Dzhandzhgava, Inga Tutisani, Manana Kapanadze, Petr Parpulov, Leval Latariya, Georgy Pataraya, and Georgy Khurtsilava.[39] Investigators, judges, and the prosecutor were the same practically in all cases and many of them got promotion after those cases. For instance, Roman Troyan, former investigator, became head of the FSB Investigative Department for Krasnodar Territory.[40] Leonid Korzhinek, prosecutor in the Kharebava, Dzhandzhgava, and Sevastidi cases, became Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia in 2016.[41]

The Team 29 journalists found that at least six women (Ekaterina Kharebava, Oksana Sevastidi, Annik Kesyan, Marina Dzhandzhgava, Inga Tutisani, and Manana Kapanadze) were convicted just for SMS messages on open movements of military equipment to their acquaintances in Georgia.[42] After that, the Team 29 attorneys entered the cases of Annik Kesyan, Marina Dzhandzhgava, and Inga Tutisani.[43] On July 29, 2017, Vladimir Putin signed decrees on pardon for Marina Dzhandzhgava and Annik Kesyan;[44] on November 16, 2017, the Supreme Court revised Inga Tutisani’s sentence and reduced her punishment term from 6 years to 4 years and 1 month.[45] All three women were released.

On March 16, 2018, Ivan Pavlov informed on entrance of the case of Petr Parpulov, an ex-flight dispatcher from Sochi convicted by the Krasnodar Territorial Court.[46] Parpulov was convicted to 12 years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony in January 2016 for high treason (Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Russia). On March 12, Parpulov’s family was notified that he was denied of pardon.[47]

Extremism cases[edit]

The Regional Press Institute case

Ivan Pavlov represented in court interests of the Regional Press Institute contesting fine imposed for the refusal to self-register as a “foreign agent” NGO and of its Director, Anna Sharogradskaya, when they planned to initiate a criminal case for extremism against her. As a result, the Investigative Committee of Russia refused to initiate a criminal case against Sharogradskaya and the Supreme Court of Russia cancelled the lower-instance court decision on the fine for the Regional Press Institute.

The Natalia Sharina case

Ivan Pavlov defended Natalia Sharina, ex-Director of the Library for Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, accused of distribution of extremist literature through the library (Article 282 of the Criminal Code of Russia, part 2) and of misspending of money spent for lawyers; work (Article 160, part 4).[48] Sharina was detained in 2015 and spent more than a year under home arrest. Employees of the library told that the books Sharina allegedly had distributed in fact had been planted within the search.[49] Sharina’s defense team pointed vagueness and absurdness of the charges against her: she had not been in charge of the library stock acquisition and fees for the lawyers had been permitted by the Department for Culture of the Government of Moscow. Finally, the court found Sharina guilty and gave her a 4-year suspended sentence.[50]

The case of Scientologists in St. Petersburg

Ivan Pavlov served as a defending attorney for Sakhib Aliyev, chief accountant and one of the five members of the St.-Petersburg Scientologist Church, accused of illegal business practices and religious extremism.[51] Pavlov is sure that “the case of Scientologists is a shameful page in the new history of Russian justice” since he believes that “they persecute them for their faith, trying to consider them extremists” and that “FSB already tries to dictate to the public what gods they may or may not worship”.[52]

Other cases involving state security bodies[edit]

The Igor Baranov case

In 2013, Pavlov achieved termination of the criminal persecution of Igor Baranov, Professor of the Baltic State Technical University (St.-Petersburg, Russia), accused of “an attempt to cross the state border with materials that can be used for production of massive weapons” (the material in question was Baranov’s paper report for an international research conference).[53]

The Raoul Wallenberg case

Ivan Pavlov and the Team 29 represent in courts interests of the family of Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during the World War II. In 1945, Soviet troops entered Budapest and Wallenberg was arrested by SMERSH officers. In 1957, the Soviet government confirmed the information on capture of Wallenberg and informed that he died from a heart attack in 1947 in the Lubyanka Prison. Wallenberg’s family and the Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI-70) research group seek for disclosure of Soviet archives that can contain information on Wallenberg’s fate. The Russian government refuses to provide important documents, referring to their secrecy or to personal and family secrets the documents contain.

On March 29, 2017, Wallenberg’s relatives submitted official requests to the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), asking to provide documents that could shed light to Wallenberg’s fate.[54] The FSB refused to respond to the requests so that the Team 29 and Wallenberg’s family members sued the FSB.[55] On September 18, 2017, the Meschansky district court of Moscow rejected the family’s claim.[56] On February 20, 2018, the Moscow City Court let stand the decision of the Meschansky district court.[57] Pavlov stated that he was planning to file a cassation appeal and then “direct way to the European Court for Human Rights is opened”.[58]

Other cases[edit]

The case on search of the Memorial Research Center

In 2009, Ivan Pavlov managed to achieve a court decision considering unlawful the search that had been performed by investigative bodies in the Memorial Research Center (St.-Petersburg, Russia).[59]

The Suprun case[edit]

Ivan Pavlov defended Mikhail Suprun, a historian accused of privacy abuse in 2009 for preparing a memory book of Soviet political repression victims. In January 2014, the European Court for Human Rights started communicating with the Government of the Russian Federation upon the application from Suprun and Pavlov.

The "Troll Factory" case[edit]

In St. Petersburg there is a company[60] whose employees are paid for aggressive pro-governmental posts and comments in the Internet. Lyudmila Savchuk, a former employee of that "troll-factory", sought to disclose its activities and filed a claim in court for labor violations. Ivan Pavlov represented Ms. Savchuk, and the defendant "troll-factory" agreed to pay Savchuk her withheld salaries and to restore her labor rights.[61]

The Aleksandr Eivazov case

Ivan Pavlov is defending Aleksandr Eivazov, former judicial session secretary in the Oktyabrsky district court of St.-Petersburg who told publicly of law violations in the court. Eivazov took the position of judicial session secretary in the Oktyabrsky district court of St.-Petersburg in October 2016. According to his own words, he regularly met law violations (e.g. by judges) in the court. In December 2016, he left the job and submitted to the Ministry for Interior, to the Investigative Committee, to public prosecution, and to some other government bodies tens of complaints against labor law violations, procedural breaches, and ethics abuse by officials.[62]

In August 2017, Eivazov was arrested and charged of legal obstruction.[63] According to the investigation, Eivazov had not executed a number of documents in a proper way, trying to damage the judge he had conflicted. Eivazov himself stated that he had not finalized and signed a protocol for one case, having first been on medical leave and then left the job in court immediately; he had considered that it would have been a law violation for him to sign a protocol ex post facto, being not an official of the court. In January 2018, upon a statement by Judge Irina Kerro he had worked with, Eivazov was charged also of libel against her.

Since August 2017, Eivazov, suffering from severe bronchial asthma, is kept in a pre-trial detention center; his defending attorneys filed a number of motion for his hospitalization.[64]

On January 19, 2018, information came on completion of the case preliminary investigation; on January 23, the investigator commissioned a psychological and psychiatric expert evaluation of Eivazov. On February 14, 2018, his defending attorneys informed on possible forgery of evidence: a blank protocol of victim familiarization with the case materials, signed by Judge Irina Kerro but neither filled nor dated, was found in the case files.[65]

The Memorial human rights center recognized Eivazov a political prisoner,[66] and Amnesty International, a prisoner of conscience.[67]

Awards[edit]

In 2015, Ivan Pavlov received the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights in court.[68]

In March 2018, he received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, awarded by the Human Rights Watch to activists who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others.[69]

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