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

Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyers were presented to the new latest charges at the FSB office in St. Petersburg today. This is the sixth set of charges filed during the two-year investigation of the espionage case against Nikitin. This is in violation of Russian constitutional and procedural laws as well as international conventions, which require that all charges against individuals must be based on duely published laws in force when the offense under investigation was committed.

The filing of the new charges followed a negative response to a petition to dismiss the case, filed by Nikitin`s lawyers on January 16 this year. The investigative body of theFSB has declined the petition without providing substantial grounds for the decision. The petition effectively proved that neither the juridical nor the factual side of the charges against Nikitin can be sustained by the existing federal laws of the Russian Federation.

Nevertheless, a part of the charges have been altered to support the FSB’s case. In addition to the decree no.055, issued in September 1996, when the time Nikitin was already in FSB custody, the investigators added military decree no.071 issued in 1993.

An identical petition to dismiss the case was filed with to the St. Petersburg District Attorney in mid-January. The District Attorney’s office has not responded so far.

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 At that point, it would depend upon the D.A. whether the case based upon unpublished decrees, one of them even applied retroactively against the accused, will go to court.