"Each criminal case goes through certain phases, like investigation, discovery phase etc.", Yury Schmidt, Nikitin’s lawyer, said at a press conference today in St. Petersburg. "The Nikitin case has entered the Phase of Absurd."
The press conference, attended by more than 40 journalists, focused on the current development in the Nikitin case. The development, as put by Yury Schmidt, is such that the case will stay unresolved until the millennium and, most probably, longer than that.
The Russian Security Police (FSB) has sent the Bellona Report, which contains alleged state secrets, to a new expert evaluation. The experts have to figure out if the report contains state secrets. After they are done with it, the Report will be forwarded further to another group of experts whose task will be to evaluate what damage the alleged secret information released in the Report has brought to the security of the Russian Federation. This is the fourth evaluation since the case was launched in October 1995.
Nikitin is accused of high treason and divulging of state secrets for co-authoring a Bellona Report on radiation hazards in the Russian Northern Fleet. The three-and-a-half-year of legal foot-dragging did not end in the Russian Federation’s Supreme Court in February. The court sent Nikitin’s case back to the security police (FSB) for further investigation. The court ruled that the indictment was vague and previous expert evaluations of the Report were inconsistent and had to be done again.
The evaluation, which is a part of the additional investigation, may be followed by a new indictment due by 11 July, given the FSB investigators do not request another prolongation.
Aleksandr Nikitin remains under city arrest in St. Petersburg.