Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great quotes I


"Freedom House today renewed its deep concern about the fairness and impartiality of the pending court decision in the case of former Yukos head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in light of comments made by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a call-in session with the Russian public.

Asked by a viewer about the fairness of the eight-year sentence Khodorkovsky is currently serving on charges of tax evasion, Putin borrowed a famous line from a popular Soviet film, replying “a thief must sit in prison.” He also said that the crimes of Mr. Khodorkovsky "were proven in court," before any verdict has been rendered in this latest trial. Putin concluded his remarks by calling the Russian court one of the “most humane in the world.”

“The Russian prime minister's remarks are utterly irresponsible and make a mockery of the justice system by overtly prejudging a verdict before the court issues its decision,” remarked David J. Kramer, Executive Director of Freedom House. “Mr. Putin once again has demonstrated his scornful disregard for rule of law, directly contradicting President Medvedev’s pledges to eradicate legal nihilism and dashing hopes for a justice system free from political pressure.” See Putin’s Remarks on Khodorkovsky Show Blatant Disrespect for Rule of Law.

Ok, so let's understand this. A viewer asked about the sentence Khodorovsky is currently serving i.e. Putin was asked about Khodorovsky's last trial, back in May 2005. When Putin opines that Khodorovsky got what he deserved (and would one expect anything different to come out of his mouth?), this is "utterly irresponsible" and "prejudging" the current case?

Additionally, speaking of prejudging, how is this that different from President Obama and AG Holder suggesting (in response to Republican criticism of their proposals) that convictions would be all but guaranteed if/when "terrorists" would be tried in civilian courts ??

Ed note: OK, for those readers who are turning purple with apoplexy at this 'heresy', this blogger understands that it is not free in Russia.... that the administration there is an autocratic and authoritarian kleptocracy... that the courts do what they are told versus applying the law impartially, etc. , etc. The criticism here is directed at these NGOs (Freedom House, Amnesty International, etc.), who take a comment about the past and huff and puff as if it is about the future (Note: here I'm going by their own reporting of what transpired!!), and apparently need to gin up fake outrage when there's manifestly plenty of real outrages present that need to be exposed and denounced!!

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