FSB excluded Minatom-evaluation of the report

FSB asked several different institutions to do an expert-evaluation of theNorthern Fleet report, in order to establish whether there were statesecrets in the text. One of these evaluations was done by Minatom, butsince their conclution was the oposit of what FSB wanted, the results hasnot been described in the charges Alexandr Nikitin has to defend himselfagainst in ourt, starting on Tuesday.

-This shows that FSB can choose between different "experts", and onlyinclude those who are in the secret service’s favour. If Nikitin issentenced because of the charges, it can be considered as a "go" for FSB tocontinue to use this kind of unindependent experts in other cases inRussia, says Diederik Lohman, director of the Moscow office of the HumanRight Watch, an international organisation which has followed the Nikitincase closely since the very beginning. Lohman is one of the internationalobservers to the Nikitin trial in St. Petersburg.

-The Nikitin trial will be the most important trial indicating if Russiawill follow international rules of law, and maybe most important, their ownConstitution, said Stephen L. Kass, board member of Human Rights Watch atNikitin’s press conferance in St. Petersburg the day before the trial willstart. The observers and Bellona has established a observer center in thebuilding next to the City Court in St. Petersburg.

The Human Rights Watch office in Moscow is very affraid of the chillingeffects by the Nikitin-case. – We have seen several cases whereenvironmental NGO’s in Russia do not dare to speak or write about theircritizism against nuclear waste. What stands in newspapers today can beconsidered as state secrets tomorrow, if Nikitin is sentenced on basis ofsecret and retroactive decrees, says Lohman.