Nikitin received 7th set of charges

Publish date: May 15, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Aleksandr Nikitin was charged for the 7th time for espionage and divulging of state secrets on May 8. This time, the charges contain no reference to secret military decrees. As a matter of fact, they now have absolutely no legal foundation at all.

The 7th set of charges against Nikitin followed a response from the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation to Nikitin’s legal counsel, which two months ago filed a motion to dismiss the case.In the ruling signed by Deputy Prosecutor General Aleksandr Rozanov and approved by the Prosecutor General Yuriy Skuratov, the charges against Nikitin are referred to as "sustainable". However, the FSB is instructed to "exclude from the case all references" to the military secret decrees and other normative acts applied retroactively against Nikitin.

The FSB has followed the instructions its own way: while all the references to the secret decrees and normative acts used retroactively were removed, the provisions of these secret decrees still form the backbone of the charges. Thus, this set of charges is left with no legal foundation at all. The only legitimate underpinning for a legal case against Nikitin stems from the Law on State Secrets, adopted in 1993. This article, however, cannot be the sole basis of the charges, as the provisions of thearticle do not correspond to the information Nikitin had allegedly transferred abroad.

— The Prosecutor General decided to maintain an arm’s length of distance between himself and responsibility for the charges. His decisionis both illegal and shameful, says Yuriy Schmidt in an interview with Bellona Web. – This is the same as if somebody is sentenced to death whenthe death penalty itself is not mentioned in the verdict, adds Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, the case will soon be sent to court, but the court will likely return it for additional investigation, as no court would dare to pronounce Nikitin "not guilty" in the politicallycharged climate. On the other hand, no court would find the indictment prepared by the FSB "legally sustainable".