Guy Arrested Over KickassTorrents Blocked From Talking To His US Attorney

from the due-process? dept

Just a few weeks ago, we had lawyer Ira Rothken on our podcast (it’s a really great episode, so check it out if you haven’t heard it yet). Rothken has been involved in lots of big copyright cases, but is probably most well-known these days as Kim Dotcom’s US lawyer. In that episode we talked a lot about the Kim Dotcom situation, but also spent a fair amount of time on the case of Artem Vaulin, who was arrested in Poland for running the search engine KickassTorrents. The US is seeking to extradite him to stand trial in Illinois. On the podcast, Rothken expressed some concerns that he hadn’t been able to speak directly to Vaulin and noted that he was working on it.

Nearly a month has passed, and it appears that officials are still blocking Vaulin from communicating with Rothken. TorrentFreak has the story:

Even though nearly two months have passed, the alleged KickassTorrents owner still hasn?t been allowed to meet with his U.S. defense team. A clear due process violation, according to Rothken.

?We still have not had an opportunity, nor have we been granted access, to meet with Artem Vaulin in prison in Poland. So we now believe that this has ripened into an international due process problem.

?We believe that Artem?s rights are now being impacted with his inability to communicate with U.S. counsel,? Rothken tells TF.

Vaulin is allowed to meet with his Polish lawyer, but since the charges against him are in the US, under US law, and the key issue involves extradition to the US, it’s ridiculous that he’s unable to consult with a US lawyer.

?There?s no way that there could be a fair trial in the United States, or a fair extradition process, without Artem being able to have access to U.S. counsel, to learn his rights, to be able to galvanize the evidence, and to do so in a robust and expedient manner,?

It seems quite bizarre that Vaulin is being denied access to his lawyer. Once again, as with the Dotcom case, it feels like a situation where officials are purposely stacking the deck against the person they’re accusing, doing everything possible to make sure that they’re pressured into cutting a deal, rather than actually being able to fight for their rights.

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Companies: kickass torrents

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Comments on “Guy Arrested Over KickassTorrents Blocked From Talking To His US Attorney”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Disgusting but not surprising

It seems quite bizarre that Vaulin is being denied access to his lawyer.

‘Bizarre’ implies that the reasoning behind it is confusing or unclear, but as the rest of the paragraph makes clear this is very much intentional.

Once again, as with the Dotcom case, it feels like a situation where officials are purposely stacking the deck against the person they’re accusing, doing everything possible to make sure that they’re pressured into cutting a deal, rather than actually being able to fight for their rights.

The USG doesn’t want him to be able to adequately fight back, so they’re doing everything they can to make sure that he’s at as big of a disadvantage as they can. If they could prohibit him from talking to any lawyers but theirs I have no doubt whatsoever that they would do so, because talking to one lawyer is just as good as talking to another, right?

Bork says:

Re: Disgusting but not surprising

The lawyer is setting the ground for a mistrial by ensuring everyone the world over knows his client was denied his American Constitutional Rights and due process during extradition.

The Polish are already turning Xenophobic and questioning their participation in the EU due to their migrant crisis. Now add to that news stories about the Americans enforcing their laws in Poland, but not even following their own constitution, due process laws, and possibly running the guy through a terrorist secret court when doing so.

He’ll be extradited and put on a kangaroo court trial, it’ll be made public, and the EU member states will have another really good reason to remove themselves from the EU. Poland has a lot of oil pipelines running from Russia to the EU going through it, that happens, not good for the EU.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Corruption

We have finally come full circle and are now the global superpower bullying anyone around the world who offends us. Hollywood has convinced the government that they are more important than due process, international relations or public rights and Dotcom was just the first big name to be punished. Little things like laws and borders won’t stop them from railroading their victims.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Corruption

Hollywood has convinced the government that they are more important than due process,

you mean…

Hollywood has bribed the government so that they are more important than due process.

Nothing in government happens without money.

Meanwhile the citizens keep giving Hollywood money and bank rolling the the destruction of America.

Every Nation gets the Government it Deserves.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Corruption

Wrong analogy. In a government situation there’s a culture of complicity with the governing regime until the people won’t support it any more. Even the really repressive ones require a compliant majority.

In a rape situation there’s nothing to rebel against as such; you just have a victim trying to put his or her life back together after an horrific event.

Andy says:

Re: Re: Re: Corruption

Wrong, many many people boycott all media coming from hollywood, i don’t think i have paid to see one film in the last few years and i have had more than enough content to satisfy my and my families needs. More and more people are realising how crazy it is to pay for content and how to get a hell of a lot of content free or for a very very small fee.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Corruption

We have come full circle and are become the very thing we were fighting in the last century.

In the last century, kangaroo courts with “show trials” where defendants were denied access to counsel or evidence was the thing we made fun of and gasped in horror at. Now it is us.

When the magical ‘terrorist’ incantation is invoked, we also have the whole list of Secret Courts, Secret Warrants, Secret Arrests, Evidence, Trials, Convictions, and Secret Prisons with Secret Torture.

Our police that were once highly respected part of our communities now act as an occupying invasion force complete with actual military equipment to use against the insurgents who once were called ‘citizens’, but now are called ‘civilians’.

HegemonicDistortion says:

Re: how sad and maddening...

Are there any judges who are honest, fair, and have the guts to stand up to power and the Dept of Disjustice* any more?

Are there any prosecutors left who have any notion of their supposed obligation to seek justice rather than maximum prosecution and fuckery?

*yeah that’s right, disjustice. Neologisms, for when the old adjectives just don’t convey the problem anymore.

hmayle (profile) says:

Due Process non-existant in other famous trials too...

“Once again, as with the Dotcom case, it feels like a situation where officials are purposely stacking the deck against the person they’re accusing…”

The ultimate “stacked deck” trial would have to be the Nuremburg Trials of the Nazis. The defense lawyers were not allowed to even see the evidence unless the prosecutors approved it and the prosecutors had free reign to destroy any evidence they chose. The defense could not call any witnesses the prosecution did not approve of. They could not present any evidence unless the prosecution approved it. Although many of the accused may have deserved their fate the Nuremburg Trials were nothing but show trials with the outcomes predetermined.

Anonymous Coward says:

check to see who is stopping this and the answer, i bet, is Hollywood and the pressure it exerts onto the bought and paid for members in the government. instead of having an ounce of backbone, these spineless individuals use the the only thing in their favor, albeit a very favorable thing, the wealth they have with which to buy the needed power! however, sooner or later the truth always comes out and dead or alive the individual(s) concerned can still be named and shamed, even if it is only on to the family members who are left!!

Anonymous Coward says:

I might be missing something, but this line from the TF article makes it sound like it’s Poland that’s blocking things?

“We have gone through all the hurdles that we could possibly go through with the Polish authorities. Right now there’s simply no proper basis for them not to give access, other than the fact that they’re involved in procedural gamesmanship,” Rothken says.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

If only there were some sort of department of like justice or something that could investigate and stop the corruption of governmental agencies by sneaking in former lobbyists & supplying very well paying jobs for minor work when they left that office.

And then when the laws of the land were being broken they could charge those people doing wrong and punish them to the full extent of the law no matter how big and powerful their real masters were.

Corruption probes rooting out corporate wrongdoing & putting an end to the business as usual thumbing of noses at the law, and demanding actions be taken violating the rights of people globally to appease them.

Yeah, we should totally make one of those…

Andy says:


When a person is not allowed due process as required in a request to extradite someone, the judge should be told that he must not allow the person to be extradited.
In every instance the DOJ should be warned that if these tactics are ever used then the extradition order will be denied and not allowed to be submitted again for the same person.They must also be warned that this applies to all extradition orders for terrorists and murderers which could end up with them not being extradited for a real crime they committed.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Polish law applies.

This extradition is happening in Polish courts. It is solely a matter under Polish law at the moment. As it is occuring in Polish courts under Polish law, unless Rothken is allowed to practice Polish law in Polish courts, then in Poland he is NOT a lawyer.

If defendants Polish practicing lawyer wishes to consult a US lawyer on the ramifications of US law, he is entitled to do so, just like with any other expert consultant or witness.

Do Polish courts usually allow random consultants/expert witnesses access to a defendant that’s being held in custody? In this context (Polish law), in this location (Polish courts), all Rothken is is an expert witness or consultant, he is NOT a lawyer. Therefore he should have no greater access to the defendant than any other non-lawyer would have.

Now, whether the Polish custodial system should be routinely denying access to non-lawyers, such as Rothken, or say if the defendant had hired a PI, or whomever is another question. But the fact that Rothken is a lawyer in the US does not grant him lawyer-level access in Poland.

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