Yuri Shmidt, lawyer for jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, talks to journalists at a news conference in Moscow on September 23, 2005.

© 2005 Reuters

Human Rights Watch is deeply saddened by the death on January 12, 2013 of Yuri Shmidt, one of Russia’s leading human rights lawyers.  Shmidt was a deeply principled, unrelenting fighter for human rights and one of the most respected voices in Russia’s human rights movement.  Among those he represented were Alexander Nikitin, the environmental activist, Uzbek human rights activist Abdumanob Pulatov, and the families of murdered pro-democracy politicians Galina Staravoitova and Sergei Yushenkov. He was also one of the lead defense lawyers for imprisoned businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Yuri was a dear friend to many at Human Rights Watch, and we honored  him at Human Rights Watch’s 1993 Voices for Justice annual dinner.
We extend our deepest condolences to Yuri Shmidt’s family and loved ones.