From April to October 2019, Human Rights Embassy monitored the criminal trial of Mikhail Benyash as part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice's TrialWatch initiative. Mr. Benyash is a well-known human rights lawyer in Russia. He has frequently represented activists arrested during demonstrations. In December 2018, Mr. Benyash was criminally indicted for allegedly assaulting police officers who had arrested him in connection with a protest. The evidence, however, suggested that it was in fact Mr. Benyash who had been assaulted by the police. He was convicted in October 2019. The proceedings against Mr. Benyash entailed significant violations of his rights under international law, including his right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment; his right to be free from arbitrary detention; his right to be presumed innocent; and his right to an impartial court.
Mr. Benyash was detained by plainclothes officers on the basis of allegations that he organized an unaut