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Eight IFEX members and affiliates sign on to Nikitin appeal

(PEN Canada/IFEX) - We are appealing on behalf of Aleksandr Nikitin, a
retired naval captain who will be going to trial on charges of treason in
the form of espionage on October 20 in St. Petersburg. The charges are in
connection with a chapter Nikitin wrote in a report by the Bellona
Foundation of Norway, entitled "The Russian Northern Fleet: Sources of
Radioactive Contamination", which discusses the potential for nuclear
disaster in the Kola Peninsula and Severodvinsk where the Russian Northern
Fleet is located.

**For background information see IFEX alerts of 22 September 1998, 17
December, 1 December, and 19 June 1997**
The undersigned organisations, who are members of the International Freedom
of Expression eXchange (IFEX), believe that the accusation against Aleksandr
Nikitin violates his basic human right to freedom of expression and
contravenes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since
the information he collected is publicly available and outside the
definition of "secret" as established by Presidential Decree No. 1203.
Nikitin, who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1997, has had his
passport and his Canadian travel papers confiscated, and he has been
restricted to the city limits of St. Petersburg since December, 1996.

We are also alarmed by alleged irregularities in the prosecution's legal
proceedings against Nikitin. According to Amnesty International, these
include the obstruction of the preparation of the defence, the obstruction
of a comprehensive second expert assessment, an attempt to transfer
Nikitin's case to a military court, the undue influence the prosecuting body
has over the selection of the judges and the procurator openly siding with
the accuser.

We believe that Aleksandr Nikitin is being charged solely for peacefully
adhering to his right to free expression as guaranteed by Russian law and
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call for all
judicial proceedings against Aleksandr Nikitin to be dropped without
condition and for his passport, travel documents and emigration papers to be
returned to him.


ARTICLE 19, United Kingdom
Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists
Independent Journalism Centre, Nigeria
Institut Studi Arus Informasi, Indonesia
Media Watch, Bangladesh
PEN American Center
PEN Canada

Similar letters can be sent to:

Appeals To

His Excellency Boris Yeltsin
President of the Russian Federation
The Kremlin
Moscow, Russia
Fax: +70 95 206 3961/206 5137/206 0033/224 0366
Email:c/ Marat Guriev, Administration of President Yeltsin:
[email protected]

His Excellency Yevgeny Primakov
Prime Minister
Russian Federation
Moscow, Russia
Fax: +70 95 244 2401

Colonel General Anatoly Kulikov
Minister of Internal Affairs
Moscow, Russia
Fax: +70 95 230 25 80

Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Eremenko
Procurator General of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Russia
Fax: +78 12 312 9786

Send similar appeals to your own country's representative in Russia and the
Russian government representative in your country. In Canada, letters can be
sent to:

His Excellency Vitaly Churkin
Ambassador of the Russian Federation
285 Charlotte Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 8L5
Fax: +1 613 236-6342

Her Excellency Anne Leahy
The Canadian Embassy
Starokonyushenny Pereulok 23,
Moscow 12100, Russia
Tel: +70 95 956 6666
Fax: +70 95 232 9948
Email: [email protected]

PEN Canada

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