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Nikitin's case to European human rights court

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 13, 1998) Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyers are going to file a complaint with Russia's Supreme Court. Also, they are preparing to take the case to the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. This is because it is a violation of human rights not to acquit a defendant when no crime can be proved.

(502.4947) WISE Amsterdam - As mentioned in the lastest issue of the WISE News Communique, the judge concluded on October 29 that the indictment was too unclear and dismissed all the evidence presented against Alexandr Nikitin. The judge sent the case back to the prosecution for further investigations.
Aleksandr Nikitin was charged with espionage and disclosure of state secrets while working for the Bellona Foundation. He was arrested by the FSB on February 6, 1996, after writing two chapters for a Bellona report on the risks of radioactive pollution from Russia's Northern Fleet. He was held in pre-trial detention until December 14, 1996, and since his release from custody, has been officially restricted to the city limits of St. Petersburg.

"Although the court decision was anticipated, we have still decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, and to the international court of human rights in Strasbourg," said chief defender Schmidt, "because we will follow our principles to the end. We want an end to this strange system that a court can make a third decision, which is neither guilty nor acquittal."
Bellona spokesperson Frederic Hauge emphasized that what he had seen in the court gave support to Judge Golets' credibility. "By taking this case now to the European court, we hope to add one more to our list of victories. It is a violation of human rights to not acquit the defendant when no crime can be proved." Adding to this, legal advisor Jon Gauslaa said that the preparations for taking the case to Strasbourg had been going on since May this year. "Nikitin's rights to have his case tried within a reasonable time are violated. His movement is still restricted. Our possibility to have the case accepted and then won are huge," said Gauslaa.

Never before in Soviet or Russian history has this happened to a KGB or FSB-initiated case of alleged treason through espionage. This means that three years of efforts from FSB, their three investigative teams and the prosecutor's office, were dismissed. All their alleged evidence was found lacking. The case contains 22 volumes of paper. There have been seven charges. "Despite FSB's attempts at making a quality product, they failed," said Schmidt. "We are talking about a very large victory--and our enemies' complete defeat."

Sources: Bellona, e-mail 30 October 1998
Contact: Bellona, P.O. Box 2141 Grunerlokka, N-0505 Oslo, Norway
Tel:+47-23234600; Fax: +47-22383862