Nikitin trial behind closed doors after 30 minutes

Runar Forseth
1998-10-20 12:00

Nikitin trial behind closed doors after 30 minutes

ST. PETERSBURG (Bellona Web): At 11:07 St. Petersburg time today, Tuesday 20 October, Judge Goletsentered the court room with his two lay jurors. The Nikitin trial begunwith a full audience, but was closed to the public after only 30minutes.

The defence team, with the panel of judges in the rear. The defence team, with the panel of judges in the rear; Judge Golets in the middle.
Photo Thomas Nilsen

The court room was crowded with observers and journalists, as the judgeentered to start the trial against Aleksandr Nikitin. The audiencecounted more than 100 people.

The proceedings started with the judge asking whether Aleksandr Nikitinwas comfortable, presenting the defence and the prosecution, and whetherthere were any objections to his chosen lay jurors. The defence saidthat they feared FSB influence upon the jurors. The judge then assuredthat this was not the case, and that he would make sure things stayedthat way. The prosecutor, Gutsan, was accepted as such by Nikitin andhis defence.

After further formalities, such as establishing Nikitin’s identity andsocial status, the issue of highest expectation among the audience wasraised: Will the proceedings be open? The defence referred to JudgeGolets already having released the secret decrees to the defence – thishappened the night before – and thus claimed the proceedings should be keptopen. Gutsan objected to this, and the judges retired at 11:35 toconfer. At 12:20 they returned to the court room, announcing that thecourt will be closed to the public for the following part of theproceedings.

At the time of writing it is not clear whether all of the proceedingswill be closed, or just chosen parts. Check this site soon for furtherinformation as we get them.

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