“Get the hell out of the Court”

Publish date: October 20, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

ST. PETERSBURG (Bellona Web): Prosecutor Gutsan requested in the opening session of the Nikitin trial that the Court should be closed. After 25 minutes of consultation, the Judge Sergei Golets declared that the rest of the trial will be closed for public and media.

Journalists and observers from all over the world then started to leave the courtroom. After some minutes, there were only a few journalists left in the court room,interviewing Nikitin and his lawyers. A group of six guards armed withKalasnikov machine guns arrived, and ordered the last two foreignjournalists to "get the hell out" of the corridor outside the court room. BellonaWeb told the guard that the western journalists did not understand russian. One ofthe guard then imidiately took up his Kalasnikov and stated "Everyone understandsa Kalasnikov". The journalists then left the buildning.

After today’s court session Nikitin’s lawyer Juri Shmidt and the prosecutor Gutsan met outside the Court room infront of several TV-crews. Shmidt invited Gutsanto come to the press conference tonight (October 20), but Gutsan said he had no interest inthat.

Several St. Petersburg environmental and human rights groups are standing outsidethe City Court holdning banners with the slogan "Fair trial for Nikitin".