Bellona co-worker Alexandr Nikitin has been held in isolated custody for 10 months,since the arrest by the Russian security police FSB, formerly known as KGB. They have now been forced to release him, after order from Moscow. The case has been "returned for further investigation", however neither Nikitins lawyer JurySmith nor Frederic Hauge believe that there will be raised further charges against Nikitin.
– We have beaten the former KGB, and that is very exciting, says Hauge. — This case is historical, and will scatter FSB’s position in Russia.
FSB got the message about releasing Nikitin as early as December 11, but they didn’t release him until December 14, and then only after several reminders.
– I have spoken with Alexandr on the phone, and he says that he is very happy to be free. –Furthermore he says that the work towards solving the huge atomicproblems on the Kola peninsula continues after the release, says Thomas Nilsen to BellWeb.
Nilsen is an employee of Bellonas Russian department in Oslo, and wrote, together with Igor Kudrik and Alexandr Nikitin, the report "The Russian Northern Fleet – Sources of radioactive contamination". This is the report that initiated Nikitins arrest.
The report is forbidden in Russia, however that will probably change now.
The release of Alexandr Nikitin has been met with jubilation within the Russian environmental movement. After the release was made public Bellona has been incontact with all their partners in Russia, and they are truly relieved.
– The message we got from Russian environmental activists was that if we let Nikitin down, they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with us, says Hauge -who looks forward to concentrating on the environmental problems of North-western Russia once again.