01.06. 2012 EU-Russia Summit: deficiencies in the rule of law in Russia cannot be swept under the carpet.

"Concerns about deficiencies in the rule of law and the abuse of human rights in Russia cannot be swept under the carpet by EU leaders attending this weekend's EU-Russia Summit", said Members of the EPP Group Tunne Kelam, Laima Andrikiene and Bernd Posselt. "In particular, the cases of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Sergei Magnitsky should be raised. These summits are an opportunity for frank discussion and the EU should not lose this opportunity."

"The EU's dependence on Russian energy exports can sometimes make us reluctant to criticise the Kremlin and point out our concerns. However, if the EU really cares about its own values, it should not hesitate to stress those values to others. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and must be held to its commitments under international law. This is no time to go soft on Russia", said Laima Andrikiene MEP.

Tunne Kelam MEP pointed out that the Khodorkovsky and Magnitsky cases have undermined the Russian leadership's credibility to make serious efforts in addressing the flagrant deficiencies in the field of the rule of law and human rights. He said the ongoing imprisonment of Khodorkovsky, a leading businessman jailed on spurious charges and now declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, continues to expose the gap between the Kremlin's rhetoric and the reality of life in Russia. "The Khodorkovsky case matters as much to the EU now as when he was first jailed, because it remains an emblem of problems in the political and legal systems in Russia", continued Tunne Kelam MEP.

Bernd Posselt MEP also commented on the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who exposed a tax fraud by officials but who was arrested and tortured in jail, where he later died: "Instead of being praised for exposing official corruption, Sergei Magnitsky was locked up and tortured. Even today, the Russian authorities are continuing to prosecute him posthumously, a fact which says a lot about justice in today's Russia."

For further information:
Tunne Kelam MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845279

The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 271 Members and 3 Croatian Observer Members.