In Ukraine, March 30, 2016

Ukraine's military prosecutor Anatoly Matios presents video recording on March 30, 2016 of lawyer Yuri Grabvsky apparently pleading for his life with kidnappers (screenshot from

Ukraine’s military prosecutor Anatoly Matios presents video recording on March 30, 2016 of lawyer Yuri Grabvsky apparently pleading for his life with kidnappers (screenshot from

Kiev’s military prosecutor has made public a video showing lawyer Yury Grabovsky “admitting his mistake” of defending a Russian citizen. The lawyer was killed in Ukraine this month, with Amnesty International calling his murder “a chilling blow to justice.”

The video filmed with a mobile phone shows seemingly frazzled Grabovsky promising an unknown person to give up his case defending Russian Aleksandr Aleksandrov, who had been charged with involvement in terrorism activity in Ukraine.

“I promise and oblige to stop legal aid to the accused,” Grabovsky says in the video. When the person behind the camera asks the lawyer why he has made such a decision, Grabovsky answers: “I find it impossible to further defend him in this case.”

Yury Grabovsky (Facebook, via

Yury Grabovsky (Facebook, via

“Have you realized [your] mistake?” the person with a male voice then asks the lawyer, who answers positively. The video finishes with a “thank you” from the unknown interrogator.

Having presented the video at a briefing on Tuesday, Ukraine’s military prosecutor Anatoly Matios said the investigators came in possession of it through access to iCloud, registered under the name of one of the killers. He added that there are several more videos, but refused to comment further.

“We can see that [Grabovsky] made this statement against his own will. It is obvious that any person can be forced into saying whatever [another] one likes,” Aleksandrov’s new lawyer, Valentin Rybin, told TASS news agency.

The prosecutor has previously said that the slain lawyer had been possibly kept drugged by his abductors prior to his murder.

After Grabovsky’s body was discovered last week, three weeks after his disappearance in Kiev, human rights group Amnesty International has called on Ukrainian authorities to “promptly, effectively and impartially” investigate the case (statement March 25, 2016).

“The hideous murder of lawyer Yuri Grabovski, whose body was found in central Ukraine bearing gunshot wounds, is a chilling reminder of the dangers faced by lawyers and activists perceived to challenge the authorities,” Amnesty International said.

“The Ukrainian authorities must immediately take all steps necessary to begin to rectify this ultimate abuse of human rights and justice,” Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International, Anna Neistat added.

Amnesty also said that Grabovsky “faced repeated harassment and intimidation in connection with his work as a lawyer,” and called on the authorities to “immediately provide” another lawyer, Oksana Sokolovskaya who worked alongside Grabovsky defending another accused Russian, Evgeny Erofeev, “with effective protection.”

“All lawyers must be able to perform their professional duties without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference in their work,” the human rights NGO said, adding that Sokolovskaya “has also complained of repeated instances of harassment and threats in connection with her work on the case.”

Lawyer for Russian citizens detained in Ukraine is kidnapped in Kyiv then murdered,, March 25, 2016


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