New charges filed against Nikitin – Accusations still based on Defence Ministry’s secret decrees

Publish date: February 24, 1998

The Russian security police (FSB) has filed new charges against award-winning environmentalist Aleksandr Nikitin today. The new charges are solely based on secret decrees issued by the Ministry of Defense.

For the sixth time in two years, Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyers were presented with a new set of charges for the same ‘crime’ at the FSB office in St. Petersburg today. The espionage charges once again are entirely based on military decrees issued by the Ministry of Defense. No public laws are claimed to be violated. Russian constitutional and procedural laws as well as international conventions require that all charges against individuals must be based on duly published laws in force at the time the offense under investigation was committed.

In the same meeting, the FSB informed Nikitin it had rejected a petition to drop the charges for lack of evidence. On the contrary, the FSB added a new decree to the list of decrees violated by Nikitin. Investigators added military decree no. 071 issued in 1993. The other charges are based on decrees issued when Nikitin was already in custody for his alleged violations.

Nikitin had also filed a motion to dismiss the case with the District Attorney in St. Petersburg on January 16. No response has been received so far.

Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyers expect the FSB to send the indictment to the St. Petersburg District Attorney early next week. At that point, it will depend upon the D.A. whether the case based upon unpublished decrees, one of them even applied retroactively against the accused, will go to court.

Nikitin’s employer, the Bellona Foundation, is working to bring together lawmakers from Russia, the United States, the European Union and Norway to work out a legal framework for nuclear waste cleanup in Northwest Russia. "It is unfortunate that in Russia there are still parts of the old security apparatus that can openly flout the law," said Bellona USA’s director, Thomas Jandl, in reference to the secret decrees applied against Nikitin. "This case must come to an end so that we can finally address the real problems in the region. Russia has no need to protect its nuclear waste against spies, Russia must get rid of it safely. Aleksandr has done a lot to help the government to do exactly that."

For more information, call Thomas Jandl, Executive Director, Bellona USA, at (202) 363- 6810.
Copyright Bellona USA. Reproduction permitted when credit is given.

Bellona USA
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