21 October 1998


Nikitin trial update: day two

Incident details



legal action

(HRW/IFEX) - The Nikitin trial resumed on 21 October 1998 at 11:00 a.m.
(local time) in a closed session. The judge questioned Nikitin until
approximately 3:00 p.m. (local time), asking him in great detail to give his
points of view on all sections of the indictment. According to Nikitin's
lawyers, Yurii Schmidt, Genrikh Reznik and Ivan Pavlov, the atmosphere in
the courtroom was relaxed and professional. Tomorrow, prosecutor Alexander
Gutsan and the defense team will be given the opportunity to question
Nikitin. As mentioned in an earlier 21 October update, two witnesses will be
heard on 23 October. It is still unclear what will happen after that date.

On 20 October, Nikitin and his lawyers read the secret decrees on which the
charges are based. They commented that, as they had expected, the FSB has
improperly applied the decrees. No further information about the contents of
the decrees was made available so as not to interfere with court
proceedings. It remains unclear when the judge will rule on the legality of
indicting Nikitin on the basis of secret decrees. The Russian constitution
clearly states that an individual may not be incriminated on the basis of
unpublished normative acts.


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