When human rights lawyer Karinna Moskalenko learned that fellow attorney Ivan Pavlov had been detained in Moscow, alarm bells rang.
“This is a real state of emergency,” Moskalenko, who 20 years ago was the first Russian lawyer to speak before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and to win a case from Russia, wrote on Facebook on April 30.
“A lot depends — for him and for us all — on how we act now,” Moskalenko wrote. “For my part, I am sending the alarm to the headquarters of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva. And I am asking this global organization to act immediately.”
In a post the same day, journalist and human rights activist Zoya Svetova called the prominent defense attorney “a knight among lawyers.” “Pavlov is an absolutely fearless and professional lawyer who is also sensitive and loyal,” Svetova wrote. She urged “a majority of bold, honest, and professional colleagues” to come to his aid and to the aid of the legal profession in Russia generally.
Pavlov, who specializes in cases involving state secrets, was questioned in Moscow and is under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information about the ongoing investigation of former journalist Ivan Safronov. Safronov is accused of giving classified information about Russian arms sales to the Czech Republic, which he denies.
Also on April 30, law enforcement searched the St. Petersburg office of Pavlov’s legal-aid NGO Team 29, the home of the group’s IT specialist, the apartment of Pavlov’s wife, and Pavlov’s dacha.
At a court hearing the same day, a judge granted a prosecution request that Pavlov be barred from using the Internet or communicating with witnesses in the Safronov case.
‘A Bone In The Throat’
The Telegram channel SOTA posted a copy of the complaint that triggered the case, which was signed by Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Aleksandr Bortnikov and addressed to the head of the Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin.
Pavlov’s lawyer and longtime Team 29 colleague, Yevgeny Smirnov, wrote on Telegram that Bortnikov rarely signs such documents himself.