News Service 199/98
AI INDEX: EUR 46/27/98
13 OCTOBER 1998
Amnesty International sends observer to trial of Aleksandr Nikitin
St Petersburg City Court
Naberezhnaya Reki Fontanki, 16
10.30am, 20 October 1998
Amnesty International is sending an observer to the trial of Russia’shigh-profile human rights defender, Aleksandr Nikitin, which begins nextweek. Bill Bowring, a human rights lawyer and professor at EssexUniversity, will be an observer for the first week of the trial.
Aleksandr Nikitin faces up to 20 years in prison for what the Russianauthorities describe as an act of treason, and what AmnestyInternational and the international human rights movement callpeacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
On 30 June the case of Aleksandr Nikitin was finally referred to the StPetersburg City Court, after the St Petersburg Procurator confirmed thecharges brought by the Federal Security Service (FSB) against Nikitin.He is still charged with treason and exposing state secrets whileworking for the Bellona Foundation.
Aleksandr Nikitin was arrested by the FSB on 6 February 1996, afterwriting two chapters for a Bellona report on the risks of radioactivepollution from Russia’s Northern Fleet. Amnesty International adoptedhim as a prisoner of conscience. He was held in pre-trial detentionuntil 14 December 1996 when he was released. The charges against him,however, remained and he has been officially restricted to the citylimits of St Petersburg pending trial.
During a mission in May, the Amnesty International delegation held ameeting with FSB officials in Moscow, during which the organizationcontinued to urge that all charges against Aleksandr Nikitin be droppedand that the allegations of intimidation and harassment against him befully and impartially investigated.ENDS…/
Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
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