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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nikitin Lawyer Seeks Reversal

The lawyer for environmental activist Alexander Nikitin has asked the Constitutional Court to reverse a barrier imposed by the Federal Security Service, or FSB, limiting his client's rights to legal representation.

Nikitin, a former Navy captain, has been held without access to his lawyer since his arrest by the FSB in his St. Petersburg home last month on charges of treason for his role in collecting information on military nuclear waste storage in the far north for the Norwegian environmental group Bellona.

The FSB has required the lawyer, Yury Schmidt, to agree to relinquish his right to travel overseas for five years, to have his mail monitored and his telephone tapped in order to represent Nikitin. Schmidt has refused to the terms and Nikitin, in turn, has declined to accept a lawyer assigned by the FSB.

A Bellona spokesman said Friday the agency is optimistic that the Constitutional Court will rule in favor of Schmidt.

Schmidt and other legal experts argued in court Thursday that restriction of legal assistance to those charged with selling state secrets is unconstitutional.

The court is expected to deliver a decision in the next few days on whether Nikitin has the right to choose his own lawyer, the Bellona spokesman said.