Tax police persecutes Nikitin supporters

Publish date: November 6, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The tax police in St. Petersburg has launched an unexpected audit of the local NGO Lawyers for Human Rights, led by Nikitin's lawyer Yury Schmidt, and the Environmental Rights Centre, co-founded by the Bellona Foundation.

"We are not afraid of the audit," said Yury Schmidt. "But I am quite sure the whole thing was inspired by the FSB to hurt us since we won the first stage of the Nikitin case." Schmidt said he did not exclude further actions by the FSB of more serious art.

Nikitin and his lawyers have been exposed to serious harassment carried out by the FSB in the streets of St. Petersburg, where he has been held in "city arrest" since his release from custody in December 1996. Worst were direct physical attacks on Nikitin and one of his lawyers in spring this year.

Yesterday, TV channel 5 based in St. Petersburg broadcasted an interview with St. Petersburg prosecutor Aleksandr Gutsan who said he appealed the court decision – which was to send the case back for further investigation – with the Russian Supreme Court. Previously, the prosecutor stated he would not give any interviews. In the same news roll the journalist leading the program claimed the Bellona Foundation was sharing its office in Oslo with the Norwegian security police. The journalist is known for his cosy relationships with the FSB.

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