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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nikitin Trial Off Until Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- The trial on treason charges of environmentalist and retired navy captain Alexander Nikitin is to resume Wednesday with testimony by Defense Ministry experts.

On Friday, Vladimir Rodenko, a former nuclear safety expert for the Defense Ministry, and Sergei Filippov, a former employee of the Norwegian environmental organization Bellona, testified in open court. Retired Vice Admiral Yevgeny Chernov, Nikitin's father-in-law, testified in closed session.

Diederik Lohman of Human Rights Watch said the cross-examinations of Filippov and Rodenko favored Nikitin.

Defense Ministry experts f who estimate the monetary "damage" to Russia's national security caused by Nikitin's research into the Northern Fleet's handling of nuclear waste at $900,000 f will testify Wednesday.

Human rights groups are expressing cautious optimism about how the trial is proceeding. "From what we have seen so far, the defense looks far from a conviction," Lohman said.