This evening, I have instructed my legal team to take urgent action tomorrow morning to challenge today’s decision of Westminster Magistrates Court refusing to issue an arrest warrant for Mikhail Gorbachev’s crimes as the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985-1991.
All are invited to attend the proceedings at Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, starting tomorrow at 11 am or as soon thereafter as practically possible. Call Pavel Stroilov at +44(0)778 739 5060 for details.
Today’s decision by Deputy Senior District Judge Daphne Wick ham (attached) is highly regrettable, not only denying justice to the victims of the communist terror, but also contaminating one of Her Majesty’s Courts of Law with the vicious Soviet-style practice of ‘telephone law’. Indeed, the decision was taken behind closed doors, without hearing my legal representative, and upon secretive communications with the Foreign Office which are mentioned in the judgement.
Wickham D.S.D.J. has ruled that Gorbachev is in the United Kingdom as a member of a ‘Special Mission’ on behalf of the Russian state, which includes a meeting with the Prime Minister. On these grounds, Wickham D.S.D.J. ‘of her own volition’ awards Gorbachev diplomatic immunity. She adds she would never have issued a warrant for his arrest without first checking this point with Moscow (sic!), but does not consider it necessary to do so.
With respect, I find this reasoning most surprising. To begin with, Gorbachev occupies no official position in Russia. It has never been reported in the media that his present visit to the UK constituted any ‘special mission’ backed by the Kremlin or, indeed, that he was due to meet the Prime Minister. We were led to believe Gorbachev was now a private individual coming to London to celebrate his birthday.
If this is not the case, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary owe an explanation to the Parliament and the voters. This government was elected to power promising, among other things, tough policies towards the Russian regime. Indeed, it is just a few years since Vladimir Putin committed the atrocity of murdering a British citizen on British soil in a radioactive terrorist attack. In these circumstances, it would appear most controversial if the government secretly received another mass murderer as an envoy from Putin; not to mention any interference into the judicial process to protect that envoy from justice. The government must come clean on this point.
On the other hand, if the Foreign Office misinformed the Court about Gorbachev’s secret mission, this is an extremely grave matter as well. All the more so, the government must now reveal the truth about its involvement with Gorbachev’s visit.
In the meantime, our legal battle shall continue. Wickham D.S.D.J. rejected my application without making any comment on its substance except the groundless a priori statement that ‘the elements of the offence are not made out by the conduct alleged’. This is not true; and I do not take this for anything like an answer to the very serious accusations I made against Gorbachev. We shall be in court tomorrow morning once more. Until the rule of law in this country is ousted entirely by the ‘telephone law’, we shall fight as many legal battles as necessary to try and secure justice for the victims of communist mass murderers.
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Предвыборный сайт Владимира Буковского 2007-2008 (архив)
My application for a warrant to arrest Mikhail Gorbachev