Nikitin acquittal appealed!

Publish date: July 19, 2000

Written by: Jon Gauslaa

The Russian General Prosecutor has appealed the acquittal of Aleksandr Nikitin to the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court. The Presidium's hearing of the appeal case is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2000.

When the Russian Supreme Court on April 17, 2000 confirmed the St. Petersburg City Court’s acquittal of Aleksandr Nikitin, it was reason to believe that the more than four year long proceedings against him were finally over.

However, it turns out that the office of the Russian Prosecutor General on May 30, 2000 used its right to appeal the acquittal to the Presidium of the Supreme Court. The hearing of the appeal case is scheduled for August 2, 2000, at Iliyanka 3/7 in Moscow.

In the appeal, which existence Nikitin’s defence were made familiar with only today – more than seven weeks after its finalising – the Prosecutor General claims that Nikitin co-wrote the Bellona-report about the nuclear waste within the Russian Northern Fleet in order to damage Russian state security. He does, however, admit that Nikitin’s “rights to defend himself” was violated throughout the proceedings.

Aleksandr Gutsan who appeared for the prosecution during the trial in the City Court last December did, however, not acknowledge this and asked for a conviction, rather than for the case to be returned to additional investigation. Thus, the City Court had no other choice than to acquit Nikitin, the Prosecutor General claims, but because of the mistake of the St. Petersburg prosecutor, the Court came up with the wrong conclusion.

Ignoring the fact that Nikitin was acquitted because the charges against him were based on secret and retroactive legislation, the Prosecutor General demands the Presidium of the Supreme Court to cancel the acquittal. Moreover, the case must be returned to the FSB for additional investigation, so that all previous “shortcomings, flaws and violations” can be corrected before the case is brought to court again.

If the appeal is approved, Nikitin will face the ninth round of additional investigation of a case that has been investigated ever since October 1995. He is also likely to face several more rounds in Court, and the case may well go on for several more years.

Aleksandr Nikitin was arrested by the Russian Secret Police on February 6, 1996 and accused of treason in the form of espionage and disclosure of state secrets, while preparing a Bellona-report on the radioactive waste within the Russian Northern Fleet. St. Petersburg City Court acquitted him of all charges on December 29, 1999. The Supreme Court confirmed the acquittal on April 17, 2000.