Russia

The Law Society of Upper Canada welcomes the closing of criminal proceedings against Russian lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova, and urges the Russian authorities to bring her attackers to justice. 

The Law Society of Upper Canada welcomes the closing of criminal proceedings against human rights lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova; however the Law Society continues to urge the Russian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation so as to bring her attackers to justice.

 According to reports, Ms. Magomedova was attacked by police officers while attempting to visit a client at Khasavyurt town police station on June 17, 2010. Ms. Magomedova was hospitalized after being beaten to the point of unconsciousness by the officers. After the attack, a criminal investigation was opened against the officers, and Ms. Magomedova herself was also charged criminally.

 On March 14, 2012, Ms. Magomedova learned that the criminal investigations against both her and the officers had been closed several months prior. While The Law Society welcomes the closing of the criminal case against Ms. Magomedova, the Law Society remains deeply concerned about the failure to thoroughly investigate the police officers responsible for the attack. Further, the Law Society is concerned that nearly two years after the attack, Ms. Magomedova's attackers still have not been brought to justice.

 International human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary state that judicial independence and human rights are necessary to advancing the rule of law. Moreover, lawyers and judges must be able to fulfill their professional obligations without fear for their security in order to advance the rule of law. It is essential to the protection of human rights that governments make every effort to investigate human rights violations and bring perpetrators to justice.

 The Law Society of Upper Canada calls on the government of the Russian Federation to, 

  1. carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the assault of Ms. Magomedova with a view to identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice in accordance with international standards; 
  2. conform in all circumstances with the provisions of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; and 
  3. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

 The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 43,000 lawyers and 4,000 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada and the Treasurer is the head of the Law Society. The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in the Russia Federation in their effort to maintain the independence of the legal profession, to advance the respect for human rights and to promote the rule of law.