US lawyer imprisoned in Belarus files complaint to UN Human Rights Committee

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    Joseph L. Brand, a partner in the firm's Washington office, is leading the mission to release Emanuel Zeltser, an American lawyer, from prison in Belarus. Mr. Brand recently filed an urgent complaint on behalf of the American citizen with the United Nations demanding his release. The Patton Boggs team also includes Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., Darryl Nirenberg, Scott Thompson, and Kristen Johnson.

    The 21-page complaint describes "harsh and abusive treatment" that Mr. Zeltser has received since being arrested in March 2008 in Minsk and taken to a KGB detention center. The complaint states that Mr. Zeltser was taken to Belarus against his will. The last memory he had was having coffee in London before finding himself detained in Belarus, according to BelaPan, a news agency that has covered the case extensively.

    "Since the arrival, he says, he has been subject to physical beatings, deprived of his prescriptions, suffered severe pain and mental deterioration, and denied proper medical treatment," according to the news report about the complaint.

    The State Department and several leading members of the House have called for the release of Mr. Zeltser on humanitarian grounds. Mr. Zeltser was sentenced to three years in prison on Aug. 11 on charges that he allegedly "attempted industrial espionage" and used fake documents. The Minsk City Court held the trial behind closed doors and no details of the case were disclosed to the public, according to BelaPan.

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