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Prosecutors Formally Charge Mirilashvili

Published: February 2, 2001 (Issue # 641)


Mikhail Mirilashvili, a prominent Russian-Israeli businessman and vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress, was formally charged with kidnapping by prosecutors on Wednesday.

"The charge remains the same," said Gennady Ryabov, spokesman for the City Prosecutor - that Mirilashvili organized the abduction of two people last September. "Our preliminary investigation may take up to six months, but [we] hope to finalize the case earlier."

Mirilashvili's lawyer, Yury Novolodsky, called the charge "unsubstantiated, absurd and having no [chance in court]."

"I am 100 percent sure that the charge - which is more than vague - will fall to pieces in court," said Novolodsky on Thursday. "I expect prosecutors to provide more details. No court would accept the charge in its present state."

More prominent local citizens came to Mirilashvili's defense this week as another letter was circulated in the press Wednesday. The letter was addressed to the City Prosecutor's Office, and was signed by such figures as Andrei Petrov, head of the St. Petersburg Composers' Union, actors Oleg Basilashvili, Mikhail Boyarsky and Mikhail Svetin, poet and singer Alexander Rosenbaum and singer Lyudmila Senchina.

"We are especially worried to learn of the illegal methods of investigation applied to suspects [in the case]," it read. "Society will not accept the use in criminal proceedings of physical and psychological pressure, which we consider to be a serious violation of human rights."

"I don't know Mirilashvili personally, but I know of his [philanthropic] activities and of his kindness," said Basilashvili in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Supporters of Mirilashvili have repeatedly pointed to his charitable work in St. Petersburg.

"Until [prosecutors] come up with a concrete charge, he should be released, even if he is placed under house arrest."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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