President Bush to visit Hel

5 06 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza Trójmiasto
Authors: Krzysztof Katka, Michał Tusk
Translation: MoPoPressReview

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Protests and extra security measures will accompany president of The United States of America in his visit in Hel. George W. Bush will talk with president Lech Kaczyński abouts the plans to situate elements of missile defence system in Poland.

American president will arrive in Gdansk from the German town of Rostock. After the press conference on Lech Walesa Airport, he will go to Hel, located on the tip of the Hel peninsula, some 33 kilometres from the Polish mainland. Mr and Mrs Bush will spend three hours at the Polish coast, while two thousand police officers and hundreds of other officers will guard their safety. These will include Government Security Services, Border Guard, National Guard, the Navy and at least several hundred American agents. For the last week American embassy employees and their guests have taken the Hotel Nadmorski in Gdynia for their exclusive use, and it has been turned into the operational centre for the visit organisers. The area around the Hotel has been closed.

President Bush will fly to the town of Hel by the Marine One, which is the helicopter version of the Air Force One airplane. Two of these helicopters are already on standby at the Gdansk Airport. For the last few days the traffic above the city has been increased. The servicing equipment for president’s plane has already been shipped. (…)

It is president Bush’s third visit to Poland. His father has visited Poland during his presidency in 1989 to meet Lech Walesa. “Dziennik” daily, citing unofficial information, wrote that although the guests requested to include a meeting with Lech Walesa, the Polish president’s office did not agree for it. Nor Polish government nor American administration would confirm that such request had been made.

Mr Walesa himself told us on Tuesday, that he heard about such requests. – ‘There have been signals, and then I found out that the Polish president’s office did not approve. However I will be home on Friday, should American president desire to meet me, I am ready’ – said Walesa.

This isn’t the only diplomatic trouble. The mayor of Hel Miroslaw Wadolowski will write a letter to the White House, which in its press release misinformed the public, that President Bush will visit neighbouring Jurata, instead of his commune.

‘They should know where they send their president’ – says Wadolowski outraged. ‘I suspect that they have been misinformed themselves by our president’s office, which constantly claims that the president’s residence is in Jurata, although I have sent them several letters on that matter’.

Antiglobalists announced they will protest during the president’s visit near the residence. They plan to bring signs saying “Welcome to hell” in English. – ‘Over a hundred, maybe even 500 antiwar activists will manifest outside the residence’ – declared Filip Ilkowski from Inicjatywa Stop Wojnie (No Wars Initiative). – ‘We want to demonstrate peacefully against the situating of antimissile defence system, however if there will be any difficulties, then all sorts of things can happen’.

‘We are ready for antiglobalists’ manifestations, and we hope it will be peaceful – said Jan Kosciuk, spokesman for the Pomeranian Police. – ‘Should public order be disturbed, our reaction will be firm’.

The police in Tricity metropolis are advising drivers not to use their cars on Friday after midday. Privileged vehicles columns driving through the city, will cause many road closures. Drivers in Hel and Rebiechow will be most affected.

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It’s not a joke, it’s the Kremlin

16 05 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily of May 16th, 2007 (page 2)
Author: Tomasz Bielecki in Moscow
Translation: Społem

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Russian public prosecutor’s office seeks revenge on lawyer Karinna Moskalenko. She has courage to represent Kremlin’s political enemies in courts.

Moscow investigators don’t bother themselves with keeping up appearances. They accuse the barrister of… not defending her client Michail Khodorkovski good enough. Khodorkowski was the owner of Yukos oil corporation, who in 2005 was sentenced to eight years in lager-prison for being a political competition to Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors for almost a month have been demanding for her to be debarred, which means she would lose the right to represent people in Russian courts of justice. – ‘When I heard of this for the first time I thought I thought this was a silly joke’ – Moskalenko told Gazeta yesterday. Prosecutor General accuses her, that she had abandoned Khodorkovski during his February hearings in a syberian town of Chika (near the lager, where Khodorkovski serves his sentence), that she “didn’t fulfil her duties as a barrister”.

Moskalenko explaines, that the imprisoned oligarch was accopanied then by three other lawyers, and that her departure from Chika was agreed upon with Khodorkovski. – ‘Suddenly the prosecutors, who have persecuted him from several years, start to pretend to care for his welfare. This is a material for a grotesque play’ – says the Russian lawyer.

Karinna Moskalenko is the president of Russian Institute for International Legal Defence. The Institute helps Russians facing political repression in fighting justice before international courts.

She defends not only Khodorkovski. She also leads cases of opposition activists, who are being dragged through courts for illegal demonstrations. She represents the families of the victims of Nord-Ost Theatre terrorist attack on Dubrovka, who want a fair trial for police forces involved. Their incompetence and urge to liquidate terrorists fast caused – as say the relatives of the victims – the death of many hostages.

What do the prosecutors venge for? For Khodorkovski? For Dubrovka? – ‘I’m not sure. Since the nineties I’ve been dealing with difficult cases, and apparently I got into their bad books big time. However I don’t feel anything threatens me, even though maybe I should’ – says Moskalenko.

The law lecturer, who at least once a month appears in Strasbourg to fight for the rights of Russians before the International Tribunal of Justice, believes that even in Russia you don’t have to be at the mercy of Kremlin.

Two months ago, to the surprise of of Russian opposition, a group of lawyers including Karinna Moskalenko, have won a case in Moscow against the Prosecutor General. Also a court has decided that the trial against Khodorkovski cannot proceed in siberian Chika, but in Moscow. Which is important, because the trial against Putin’s political enemy can be observed by journalists, and Kremlin’s authoritarian practices will once again make headlines around the world.

Russian public prosecutor’s office has already twice tried to debar Khodorkovski’s lawyers. However the Moscow Bar had strongly rejected its motions. Moskalenko hopes it will be the same this time.

Wouldn’t it be easier to defend thieves, thugs and hooligans? – ‘Few days ago a court fined Garri Kasparov for his participation in an “illegal demonstration”. I found out about this in Strasbourg, from where one can see better how far we are from Europe. In my country the rule of law cannot look like this. Once again I had this thought in my head, that I will not gibe up my fight’.

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