The Nikitin Case 1997 news archive

1997-12-10
23 members of US Congress urge Yeltsin
23 members of US Congress urge Yeltsin to order a thorough review of the Nikitin case In a letter to russian president Boris Yeltsin, 23 members of the US Congress urge the russian government’s Procurator General to order a thorough review of the case against Alexandr Nikitin. They believe that such an unbiased review of the case would lead to a dismissal of the charges against him.


1997-12-10
The French Minister of foreign affairs
The Minister of foreign affairs in France, Mr. Hubert Védrine has written a letter where he express concerns about the development in the Nikitin-case. He says that Russia has not followed the rule of law in this case, as they are supposed to do as a member of the Council of Europe.

1997-12-09
New York Academy of Sciences urge the Nikitin case to be dropped
In a letter to the Procurator General of Russia, the New York Academy of Sciences urge that the criminal case against Alexandr Nikitin must be dropped. They state that the information in Bellona`s Northern fleet report can not be concidered as classified information because it does not endanger national security.

1997-11-28
Nikitin holds press conference in Moscow
Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyer Yuri Shmidt holds a press conference in Moscow this morning.

1997-11-27

Nikitin goes to Moscow tonight

This evening, Aleksandr Nikitin leaves St. Petersburg for Moscow. Thus, the FSB finally gave up on this demand that he remain in St. Petersburg at all times. Nikitin has been kept under city-arrest since his release from custody December 14 last year.


1997-11-17

Prosecutor vindicates Nikitin complaint:
FSB reprimanded on missing documents

In a ruling of November 6, the Russian Prosecutor General gives full credit to the views of Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyer, regarding the FSB’s attempt to alter legal documents during the conclusion of the investigation on September 17. Subsequent to the ruling, Nikitin has now accepted the case file for review by the defense.

On September 17, Aleksandr Nikitin refused to accept the FSB`s attempt at finalising the investigations against him, on the grounds that important documents were missing from the case files made available to him. The missing documents contain evidence of the FSB’s illegal attempts to transfer Nikitin’s case to court in December last year, after the Procurator ordered him released from custody.

The FSB investigator in charge of the Nikitin case, Mr. Boris Utkin, rejected Nikitin’s complaints, claiming that Nikitin had no right to see the documents, as the December indictment was obsolete and therefore no longer of concern –This line of FSB argumentation is ill-placed and obviously demagogic, commented Nikitin’s councel Yuri Shmidt to Bellona Web after receiving Utkin’s refusal.

Now the Prosecutor General of Russia officially agrees with Shmidt. Nikitin’s counsel had a complaint with the PG on September 30, which the Prosecutor complied with on November 6: The missing documents must indeed be part of the Nikitin files.

On November 12, Alexander Nikitin therefore accepted, for the first time during 2 years of investigation, to proceed to the discovery phase.

According to the Russian criminal procedures code, the accused should read through and comment on the files of the case against him, before the case can be put before a court. This last step before a decision on whether to proceed to a trial or dismiss has now begun.


1997-11-15

FSB faces "failed case": Chief Nikitin investigator dismissed

The head of the FSB team investigating the Nikitin case, Boris Utkin, was dismissed from this position last week. The rest of the investigating team was reshuffled.

On november 12, the head of the FSB investigative team on the Nikitin case, Boris Utkin, was dismissed from this position. Utkin was replaced by a lower-ranking FSB officer, the latter intending to retire shortly. The rest of the Nikitin-team was reshuffled.

Apparently, the reshuffling was prompted by the Prosecutor General’s decision concerning complaint from Nikitin’s defence counsel, concerning missing documents in the FSB case files. These embarrassing documents reveal an illegal FSB attempt to prevent the release of Aleksandr Nikitin from custodial confinement in December last year.

The factual grounds for the reshuffling is unclear. Apparently, nobody in the FSB wants to take responsibility for a "failing case", thus transferring it to an officer who plans to retire soon.


1997-10-22

Canadian PM brought up the Nikitin case in St. Petersburg

Canadian Prime-Minister Jean Chretien again brought up the Nikitin case, this time in discussions with St. Petersburg’s major Vladimir Yakovlev, during his one day visit to the city Tuesday.

On Tuesday Canadian Prime-Minister Jean Chretien visited St. Petersburg, where he met major of the city Vladimir Yakovlev. Chretien informed Mr. Yakovlev that he brought up the Nikitin case during his official talks with Prime Minister of Russia Victor Chernomyrdin on Monday this week.

Jean Chretien again confirmed Canada’s readiness to accept Aleksandr Nikitin as immigrant, as soon as Russian authorities allow him to leave the country.


1997-10-22
New law on state secrets may violate the Constitution

If the new amendment on state secrets contradicts the main part of the Constitutional law, then the matter is subject to discussion at the Constitutional Court, says Ernest Ametistov, a judge on the Constitutional Court.

The new additions to the Russian law on state secrets was signed by President Boris Yeltsin on October 6 this year. The law says that all information on military nuclear installations is concidered to be state secrets. But now the law itself may end up in the Russian Constitutional Court.

In an interview with St. Petersburg Times, Ernest Ametistov said that the amendment risked running even further afoul of the constitution. –According to Article 55 of the Constitution, information related to ecology cannot be classified, Ametistov said.

Human rights organisations in Russia are also concerned about a clause in the amendment allowing the status of disputed information to be determined by investigative committees drawn from the intelligence branches of the federal agencies concerned.

–Should this amendment be enforced, we won’t know anything about what is happening – right up to missing a new Chernobyl, said Boris Pustintsev, president of local human rights group Citizens’ Watch. He also stated that if the new amendment is enforced, there will immediately be thosands of new Nikitin cases.

Vladimir Lopatin, an independent Duma deputy and member of the Security Committee which worked on the amendment, dismissed any connection to the Nikitin case in the new law. The amendment was signed by the Duma on September 19.


1997-10-21

Aleksander Nikitin: I did not ask for asylum in Canada

I did not apply for asylum in Canada, says Aleksander Nikitin in an interview with Bellona Web today. Nikitin thus rejects rumours to the contrary, spread by Interfax yesterday.

On Monday this week, Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin stated that spy-charged Bellona co-worker Aleksandr Nikitin will be allowed to emigrate to Canada after law enforcement bodies complete the investigation of the case. The statement came on a press conference held together with the Chernomyrdin’s Canadian colleague Jean Chretien.

–I consider myself an innocent person and want all the charges against me to be dropped, said Aleksandr Nikitin to Bellona Web. –Before this happens, I do not plan to go anywhere, he added.

Aleksandr Nikitin thus rejects the rumours spread by Interfax. The Russian news agency yesterday claimed that Nikitin had applied for asylum in Canada.

This is the second time the Nikitin case has been broached by the Canadian Prime- Minister during negotiations with high-ranking Russian officials. On the first occasion, the Canadian Prime Minister expressed his concern over the Nikitin process to Boris Jeltsin at the G-7 meeting related to nuclear safety issues in Moscow, April 1996.


1997-10-20

Nikitin may immigrate to Canada

Former Russian Navy officer Aleksandr Nikitin will be allowed to emigrate to Canada after law enforcement bodies complete the investigation of the case, stated Prime Minister of Russia Victor Chernomyrdin at a press-conference together with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on Monday.

– As soon as the investigation is over, he won’t be kept here, underlined Victor Chernomyrdin.

– The Russian side did not object in principle against Nikitin’s emmigration to Canada. However, they declined to determine the date, stated Jean Chretien.

Aleksandr Nikitin was one of the co-authors of the report compiled by the Bellona Foundation on the nuclear and radioactive waste problems in the Russian Northern Fleet. Nikitin was arrested by Russian secret police in February 1996, and charged with high treason and devulging of state secrets because of his co-authorship. He was released from custody in December 1996, but has been held in city arrest in St. Petersburg since then. The charges against Nikitin remain in force.


–The New Democratic Russia is embarrassing itself in front of the world because of the manner in which it is dealing with Mr. Nikitin, writes Committee on Human Rights of Scientists in a letter to Yuriy Skuratov, Procurator General of Russia.

Yuriy Skuratov
Procurator General of Russia
Procuratura Rossiyskoy Federatsii
15a Ul. Dimitrovka
Moscow, Russia 103793

Dear Mr. Procurator:
On behalf of the New York Academy of Sciences Committee on Human Rights of Scientists, I write to again express our concern with the case of Alexander Nikitin, who, on September 9, 1997, was presented by the Federal Security Service (FSB) with a new indictment, the fifth since Mr. Nikitin’s February 1996 arrest.

The latest indictment is nearly identical to that issued on June 17, 1997, suggesting that the FSB has apparently undertaken no investigative activity over the last three months. The FSB has failed to carry out a simple but vitally important reference check to establish whether the information contained in the concerned chapters of "The Russian Northern Fleet: Sources of Radioactive Contamination" was already in the public domain in September 1995, when the report was written. By failing to do this, the FSB has violated article 14 of the International Convention for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to be tried without undue delay to all individuals charged with a criminal offense.

Furthermore, the charges continue to be based on a secret decree that the FSB is applying retroactively. In its indictment, the FSB has deleted references to Ministry of Defense Decree No.71, of 1993, but retained references to Decree No.55, of September 1996. This decree was issued not only after Mr. Nikitin wrote the Bellona report, but was also issued a full seven months after his arrest. Should Decree No.55 form the sole legal basis of the indictment against Mr. Nikitin, then the FSB’s criminal prosecution blatantly violates article 15 of the ICCPR which states:

No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offense was committed.

Mr. Procurator, the New Democratic Russia is embarrassing itself in front of the world because of the manner in which it is dealing with Mr. Nikitin. The attempt to punish a man who used openly available and published material by a democratic nation which respects the rules of law is not only a disappointment but is also highly inappropriate. We urge you to dismiss this case along with the false accusations against Mr. Nikitin so that he may resume his life.

Thank you for your attention to our concern, and I respectfully await your response.

Sincerely,

Joseph L. Birman
Chairman
Committee on Human Rights of Scientists


1997-10-14

State Department emphasized "chilling effect" of the Nikitin case

US Under-Secretary of State for global affairs, Tim Wirth, broached the latest development in the Nikitin case with representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry at the UN meeting in New York late in September.

The U.N. meeting was attended by both US Secretary of State Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Primakov. The Russian delegation pretended they didn`t know about the case and could not give any good explanation of what`s going on. Wirth said that the State Department told the Russian delegation that they are worried about the "chilling effect" implications of the Nikitin prosecution on other Russian environmental activists.


1997-10 11

New Russian law on state secrets:
All information on Northern Fleet radwaste and subs now secret

Russian’s president Boris Yeltsin resently undersigned a new law on state secrets, which establishes all information on military bases, marine yards, labour conditions and radioactive waste as being secret. The law may have dramatic consequences towards the attempts at bringing the nuclear chaos of the Russian north under control.

The new additional law on state secrets was approved by the Duma on September 19, and undersigned by Boris Yeltsin on October 6. It came to force upon publication on October 9. The law describes what kinds of information that is to be regarded as state secrets from now on. Investigations into possible breaches of the new law will be delegated to the security police FSB.

–The law seems to have been issued as a preparation for the trial against me, says Bellona co-worker Aleksandr Nikitin. After reading the new law-text today, he says that from now on anything pertaining to submarines and radwaste may be regarded as state secrets.

The new law’s article 5 states that all information pertaining to localisation of military equipment, construction, protection and military-political circumstances is secret. In addition, the law stresses that information on military nuclear objects and installations is secret.

The new law may have dramatic consequences for international co-operation on military nuclear waste, long awaited by many. Both Norwegian and US authorities are involved with projects which cover military bases on the Kola Peninsula. If the law is to be complied with, no international participants will get access to information concerning the Northern Fleet’s radwaste or deccomissioning of retired subs.

As opposed to the former law on state secrets, the new text forcibly states that all information on military installations is secret. The old text made provisions for case-by-case evaluations.

Article 26 of the new law even states that expert commissions shall evaluate possible breaches of the law. This is the very kind of commission, put together by the Russian general staff, which on several occasions have evaluated the Bellona report on the Northen Fleet and found it to contain state secrets. The spy charges against Nikitin are based on the conclusions of these expert comitteess. In the charges, references are made to secret decrees, as ‘proof’ of criminal activity. As far as the new law on state secrets provides for the enforcement of secret decrees, it violates the Russian Constitution and internationally acknowlegded principles of justice.

1997-10-11

Council of Europe, Oct. 10 and 11:

The Council of Europe gathers to its first big, top-level meeting in four years. Russian president Boris Yeltsin is among the attendees. The Bellona Foundation works to expose the Nikitin case during the summit.

1997-10-10
FSB turns down complaint on missing documents
FSB chief of investigations B. Utkin rejects the demand from Nikitin and his attorney, on reinstating the missing documents from the charges levelled on September 17. The lawyers appeal to the Prosecutor General, Mr. Y. Skuratov.

1997-10-10

Yeltsin confronted with the Nikitin case:
Prime-minister Jagland asks that Russia follows the Council of Europe obligations

During his contribution to the plenary debate in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today, Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjorn Jagland emphasised the Nikitin case. Thus, President Yeltsin was confronted with the Nikitin case early on.

The Strasbourg meeting, the first top-level meeting in the Council of Europe in four years, is devoted to legal protection issues and the development of democrasy in the former Soviet states. Russia’s president Boris Yeltsin partakes at the meeting, and was confronted with the Nikitin case during today’s debate.

Prime Minister Jagland stressed the importance of intensifying practical assistance to human rights projects in the member states, so that these states’ ability to comply with their obligations are strengthened.

–In this connection permit me to draw attention to the case of Russian citizen, Aleksandr Nikitin, an issue which has attracted considerable international concern. Let me just say that we trust that this case will be handled in full conformity with the fundamental principles of the rule of law and the obligations to which the members of this council have committed themselves, said Jagland in his speech.


1997-10-10

Leni Fischer: Serious discussions on Nikitin with the Russian delegation

President of the Counsil of Europe, Leni Fischer, has held serious discussions on the developements in the Nikitin case, with the leadership of the Russian delegation to the Counsil ‘s top-level meeting in Strasbourg this Friday and Saturday.


1997-10-08

Primakov still evasive on Nikitin

Norwegian Foreign Minister Bjørn Tore Godal raised the Nikitin-case during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov at the UN General Assambly in New York one and a half week ago.

The trial may be moved to Moscow

For the first time since the new charges against Nikitin was presented, FSB gives an offical comment to the media. In an interview with St. Petersburg Times, FSB spokesman Valery Kolpachkov says that the trial may be moved to Moscow.

1997-10-01

Citizen Watch: Take personal control!

In a letter to the Procurator General of the Russian Federation, human rights organisation Citizen Watch asks that the Procurator General takes personal control over the case in order to prevent further illegal treatment of Nikitin and a possible unfair trial.

1997-10-25
Current status of The Nikitin Case
This month’s Current Status sums up the FSB process against Aleksandr Nikitin, two years after the first FSB actions against Bellona employees and office in Murmansk.

1997-09-26
Human Rights Watch: Close the case!
Well-respected international organisation Human Rights Watch expresses its continuing consternation about developments in the Nikitin case. In a letter of Sept. 22, they urge the Public procecutor of Russia, Mr. Katushev, to close the case against Nikitin.

1997-09-23
Sierra Club: Vice-President Gore must aid Nikitin
– The Sierra Club today called on Vice President Al Gore and other members of the Clinton Administration to publicly defend Alexander Nikitin. The Sierra Club urged Gore to make a public statement before the conclusion of his visit to Russia this week.

1997-09-23
Bellona Foundation demands unconditional dismissal of the Nikitin Case
-The new charges make it even clearer than before, that the Nikitin case is … a case where the whole legal system of Russia is standing on trial. It is high time for the General Prosecutor of Russia’s office to dismiss this embarrassing case, thus showing that the Rule of Law in Russia is stronger than the paper it is written on, says General Director of the Bellona Foundation, Frederic Hauge.


Sierra Club: Vice-President Gore must aid Nikitin

– The Sierra Club today called on Vice President Al Gore and other members of the Clinton Administration to publicly defend Alexander Nikitin. The Sierra Club urged Gore to make a public statement before the conclusion of his visit to Russia this week.


Russian Whistle-Blower Awaits Trial

Editorial, Washington Post: Russian Whistle-Blower Awaits Trial Activist Who Publicized Submarine Accidents Denied Right to Work, Travel (Editorial, Washington Post)

17.09.1997

Russia‘s secret police hides embarrassing documents

Aleksandr Nikitin did not accept the attempt of FSB – Russia’s secret police – to finalise the case against him today, as important documents were missing from the files made available to him. The missing documents contained evidence of the illegal attempts by FSB to transfer Nikitin’s case to court in December last year, prior to his release from custody.


September 9 1997:
The FSB files a new charge based on secret decrees and laws that entered into force when Nikitin was in pretrial detention.


September 4 1997:
The investigation of the espionage case against Aleksandr Nikitin, will expire on September 19, 1997. However, it is not unlikely that the investigation will be further prolonged. This will mean that the violations of Nikitin’s human rights will go on – possibly forever. The enclosed factsheet presents a survey of the most serious violations of Nikitin’s human rights so far.


August 29 1997:
EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek brought up the Nikitin case and also the human rights situation in Russia in general, in his meeting with Foreign Minister Primakov on August 29, 1997. The Foreign Minister was attentive, but did not comment specifically on the Nikitin case. Commissioner van den Broek handed over a copy of the letter to the General Prokurator from the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed by 26 commission co-chairmen, commission members, senators and congressmen.


August 4 1997:
CSCE request Russian General Procurator to order a thorough review of the Nikitin case: The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) has written an urgent letter to Russian General Procurator Yuri Skuratov and urged him to order a thorough review of the Nikitin case. In the letter they also ask Skuratov to make sure that the rule of law should be applied in Nikitin`s case. Among the CSCE signatures on the letter is five U.S. Senators and 21 Members of Congress.


July 1 1997:
Nikitin’s Defence Council demands unconditional dismissal of the case Nikitin’s lawyers Jury Shmidt and Henry Reznik together with human rights organisations Helsinki Watch and Citizen’s Watch held a press-conference in Moscow yesterday, commenting on the latest developments in the Nikitin case. The lawyers claimed that the case must be dismissed unconditionally.


July 8 1997:
The well-respected human rights organisation Human Rights Watch/Helsinki demands in an open letter to Russia’s deputy general procurator that the Nikitin-case now must be closed.


June 23 1997:
Russia finally gives reason for denial of Bellona visas: Human rights supporters not wanted After nine months, Russian authorities finally gives a reason why Bellona representatives no longer get visas to Russia. It is rather simple: Bellona is working with human rights issues.


June 22 1997 – 2:
Primakov thankfull for the Northern Fleet report –Thank you, thank you. This was Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov’s comment on receiving a copy of the Northern Fleet report from Bellona representatives during the G7 meeting in Denver this Saturday.


June 22 1997 – 1:
Unconstitutional Secret laws Embarrass Russia at G7 Denver – June 22: Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Yevgeni Primakov dodged the issue of constitutional rights of Russian democratic activist at the Denver G-7 summit in Denver yesterday.


June 21 1997 – 2:
Prior to a joint Bellona Foundation/Sierra Club press conference in connection with the G8 meeting at Denver, Colorado this weekend, where Russia joins the G7, several press releases were made public
Bellona USA: Yeltsin shares spotlight with Western democracies as his deputies


June 21 1997 – 1:
Nikitin may go back to jail Nitikin defender Jury Shmidt fears a non-independent trial of Alexandr Nikitin’s case. He assumes that the "new" charges, allegedly based on additional FSB investigations but adding nothing new, have already been approved of by forces high within the Russian circles of power. Nikitin’s lawyer, Jury Shmidt, and human rights organisation Citizens’ Watch, made a statement on the case yesterday.


June 17 1997 – 2:
Nikitin investigations may be closed on June 18 The additional FSB investigations into the Nikitin case, ordered by the Procurator General in Moscow, is coming to an end. Today the FSB submitted the "new" charges based on these investigations, to Alexandr Nikitin and his lawyer Jury Shmidt.


June 17 1997 – 1:
Clinton deeply concerned about Nikitin In his first official statement in support for Alexandr Nikitin, US President Bill Clinton says he is deeply concerned about the serious procedural irregularities that have characterized the case. Clinton has written a letter where he says that the U.S. government will continue to monitor Mr. Nikitin`s case and urged the Russian government to ensure that he receives fair judicial treatment in accordance with international standards.

May 8 1997:
600,000 US environmentalists support Nikitin In a letter to the Russian president Boris Yeltsin, the executive director of the largest environmental group in USA, counting 600,000 members, urge to see that the espionage charges against Alexandr Nikitin are reviewed for their legitimacy.


May 2 1997:
Nikitin support from U.S. Senator After being awarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize Alexandr Nikitin got a lot of support from high ranking U.S. officials. In this letter Senator Dianne Feinstein thanks Mr. Nikitin for doing a wonderful service to society and the environment.


April 29 1997:
Hanging the Bad-News Messenger Russia has come a long way in six years, but there’s no question that Soviet-era thinking and methods persist. Just ask Alexander Nikitin, an ecologist in St. Petersburg who is facing the death penalty for revealing an embarrassing truth.
Editorial, Washington Post.


April 17 1997:
Top Russian Expert on Nuclear Submarines & key person on decommissioning these submarines is in trouble for speaking out ALERT TO FoE INTERNATIONAL GROUPS: 17.04.97


April 15 1997:
Human rights violations in the Nikitin case may last for ever: Russian legislation does not limit the term of additional investigations, as long as the accused is released from custodial confinement. Thus, the violations against Nikitin may go on for ever, said Nikitin’s lawyer Jury Shmidt at a press conference in St. Peterburg this morning. Nikitin may not leave St. Petersburg while investigations are still under way.


Human rights violations in the Nikitin case may last forever

Russian legislation does not limit the term of additional investigations, as long as the accused is released from custodial confinement. Thus, the violations against Nikitin may go on for ever, said Nikitin’s lawyer Jury Shmidt at a press conference in St. Peterburg this morning. Nikitin may not leave St. Petersburg while investigations are still under way.



April 14 1997 – 2:
Four months have passed since Aleksandr Nikitin was released from custody. During this period, not a single official body has found it necessary to inform Nikitin about the actual situation of his case or about future developments.


April 14 1997 -1:
Nikitin receives Goldman Environmental Prize: Bellona co-worker Aleksandr Nikitin receives the Goldman Environmental Prize this morning, USA west coast time. The prize amounts to 75,000 USD. Nikitin, still restricted from leaving his home town of St. Petersburg, will be represented by his wife Tatyana.


March 18 1997:
Washington, D.C. – The leaders of environmental, human rights and scientific organizations from the U.S., Europe and Russia today sent letters to President Clinton and President Yeltsin urging the two leaders to use the occasion of their Helsinki Summit to see that espionage charges levied against a former Russian naval captain are investigated.



March 14 1997:
Yuri Schmidt – the lawyer who defends Alexandr Nikitin – was declared "best lawyer of the year 1996", by the Moscow Club of Lawyers. The Moscow Club is a hot shot organisation established in 1995 by the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian Parliament, the Office of the Procurator General of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs – etc.
Nikitin lawyer Yuri Schmidt "Best of the year" :


March 13 1997:
On March 2 1997 rapporteur in the case of Alexander Nikitin Erik Jurgens submitted his report to the members of Legal Committee Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.


March 12 1997 – 2:
Secret Ecology – A film about the Nikitin-case is now published in St. Petersburg.


March 12 1997 – 1:
Environmental and Human-rights organisations are sending letters to President Yeltsin and President Clinton in connection to the top-meeting in Helsinki on March 19.


FSB to Clearify Nikitin Charges

Further investigations are needed on the Nikitin case, on orders from the Prosecutor. No time schedule exists on this, nor has there been set any date for a court trial. At the same time, another military expert group will look into the matter of secrecy – the fourth of its kind in little more than one year.


March 5 1997:
Further investigations are needed on the Nikitin case, on orders from the Prosecutor. No time schedule exists on this, nor has there been set any date for a court trial. At the same time, another military expert group will look into the matter of secrecy – the fourth of its kind in little more than one year.
FSB to Clearify Nikitin Charges :


February 27 1997:
Prime Minister Thørbjørn Jagland raised the Nikitin case in his discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Jevgeny Primakov in Oslo Tuesday February 25. Jagland also complained that Norwegian Bellona co-workers are denied visas to visit Russia. Thus, Primakov was confronted with the Nikitin case on two consecutive days during his visit in Norway. Nor when confronted by the Norwegian Prime Minister, could Primakov confirm President Jeltsyn’s proclamation of Russia holding no accusations against the Bellona Foundation. During his stay in Oslo in March last year, Jeltsyn emphasized that he had no reason to critisize Bellona’s work in Russia. Jagland confronted Primakov with this statement. Since October last year, Norwgian co-workers at Bellona have been denied visas to Russia. The Russian consule to Norway referred to a decision by the Russian Foreign Ministry, upon refusing to grant visas.


February 25 1997 – 2:
Nikitin’s case back in St.Petersburg: According to the City Procurator of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Eremenko, interviewed by St. Petersburg newspaper "Arguments and Facts" on February 20, the Nikitin case files was returned from Moscow, pending further investigations by the FSB in St. Petersburg. The Nikitin’s defence council has not been officially informed about this development as of yet.


February 25 1997 – 1:
Primakov awaits court trial against Nikitin: Russian Foreign Minister Jevgeny Primakov refuses to form an opinion on the Nikitin case until after a possible court trial. This was revealed during the foreign minister’s wisit to Norway yesterday and today.


February 11 1997:
On February 10, 1997, reporter to the Committee on Legal Affairs And Human Rights of the Council of Europe Mr. Erik C. M. Jurgens, visited St. Petersburg to look into the Nikitin case. During the visit Mr. Jurgens had a meeting with Vice Procurator of St.Petersburg Mr. Popov, Alexandr Nikitin and the Defence Council. Following the meeting Mr. Jurgens arranged a press conference, stating that it was beyond his intellect to understand why it was not possible to make a plain comparison of the Northern Fleet report with the open sources where from the information was actually taken. – One does not have to be an expert in a particular field to do this, said Mr. Jurgens. Mr. Jurgens will submit a report to the Council of Europe, describing the current state of affairs in the Nikitin case.


February 3 1997:
U.S. Department of State refers to the Nikitin-case in its "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996". From the Russia Country Report: "Some human rights organizations belive that the authorities have taken advantage of the system`s procedural weaknesses to arrest people on false pretexts for expressing views critical of the Government. The case of Alexandr Nikitin, a retired Russian naval captain who was detained for much of the year, was fraught with serious violations of due process, suggesting that his detention was politically motivated. The FSB detained Nikitin in St. Petersburg in February on suspicion of espionage and revealing state secrets, a crime punishable by a jail sentence or even death. Nikitin had been working with a Norwegian environmental foundation, Bellona, to publish information on the dangers posed by the nuclear waste generated by the Northern Fleet, where Nikitin had served. Nikitin and Bellona have demonstrated that all of the information they published was from open sources. The FSB detained Nikitin without charge for over 6 months before charging him with treason and forgery. The authorities unsuccessfully attempted to deny Nikitin the right to choose his legal counsel. The Government`s case hinged on Nikitin`s alleged violation of a secret 1993 Ministy of Defence (MOD) decree that Nikitin did not have access to because he had retired in 1992. Prosecution under the decree was also contested on constitutional grounds: the Constitution specifies that "any normative legal enactments affecting human and civil rights, freedoms, and duties cannot be applied unless they have been officially published for universal information." Furthermore, neither Nikitin nor his lawyer was shown the findings of the expert panel on which the charges are based. Amnesty International concluded that Nikitin was being held for political reasons. In December the Federal Deputy Prosecutor ordered the FSB to release Nikitin on his own recognizance, because the FSB had no legal grounds for holding him in jail before his trial."

Bellona

info@bellona.no