MOSCOW, February 10 - RAPSI. The statutory fee for public defenders is humiliatingly low, Moscow City Bar Association (MCBA) Chairman Genri Reznik said while addressing the Tenth Bar Conference on Friday.

A court-appointed defense attorney in a criminal case now receives 298 rubles ($10) per day. For overtime and holiday work he receives 550 rubles ($18.50) per day. If the lawyer has to defend his client at night, the state pays as much as 1,110 rubles ($37).

According to Reznik, the Justice Ministry has already asked the government to double the current pay scale, but the bill "is impeded by the Finance Ministry," which argues that the public defender's pay indexing should only increase relative to the judge's fee.

Reznik said an interpreter in court earns more that a defense attorney.