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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

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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