Nikitin verdict appealed

Publish date: January 7, 2000

Written by: Igor Kudrik

St. Petersburg Prosecutor's Office has lodged an appeal with the Russian Supreme Court. The prosecution disagrees with the ruling that acquits Nikitin and demands re-evaluation of the case by another judge!

The ruling by St. Petersburg City Court that acquitted Nikitin of all charges on December 29 1999 was appealed by Aleksandr Gutsan, the prosecutor in the case, – a natural reaction from a person who demanded 12 years in labour camps for Nikitin a week before the verdict was announced.

In his appeal Gutsan writes that he disagrees with the ruling of the court, arguing that it had been taken in contradiction with the factual content of the case. Gutsan goes on demanding this ruling to be dismissed and the case to be forwarded for evaluation by another judge in the City Court of St. Petersburg.

The decision announced by the Presiding Judge Sergey Golets came as a heavy blow for the prosecutor. Right after the court adjourned, Gutsan stormed into the Judge’s office and demanded explanation why he had not been informed beforehand about the full acquittal. “The defence team was neither been informed,” replied the Judge.

“We have no fear meeting the prosecutor in the Supreme Court again, given the court’s decision is taken in full conformity with the law,” Aleksandr Nikitin said commenting on the situation.

The Supreme Court has the power to dismiss the prosecutor’s appeal, to accept it, or even to forward the case for additional investigation back to the Russian Security Police (FSB).

“The legal stand of the decision to acquit is as solid as a rock,” Yury Schmidt, Nikitin’s lawyer, said. “We just hope that no politics will interfere when the Supreme Court takes its stance,” Schmidt added.

An extended version of the prosecutor’s appeal is due to come in late January when the protocols of the court session are made available. And although Nikitin is being acquitted the case seems far from to be over. The prosecution appears to be stubborn in its intention to regain the right to charge citizens for violation of secret and retroactive normative acts and stamp environmental information as classified.