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Aleksei Babii on the case of Viktor Danilov: “It was terribly awkward for everyone at the court hearing, except for the defence lawyer…”

Source: (info), 16/12/11

· The Courts  · Human rights defenders  · Valentin Danilov  · Prosecutor’s Office  · Security services  · Krasnoyarsk region

Krasnoyarsk’s Soviet district court has dismissed a petition by physicist Valentin Danilov, a political prisoner, to be moved to a settlement-type penal colony. The court ruled that he should remain in a strict regime colony. The reason for the refusal was that a disciplinary punishment he had been given still remained on his prison record. The disciplinary measure had been given to Valentin Danilov when he failed to climb up on to his top bunk on time and got into bed two minutes after lights out. For this violation of the rules he had been given a number of days in the punishment cell, Press-Line reports.

Aleksei Babii, chair of the Krasnoyarsk Memorial Human Rights Society, writes in his Internet blog: “It was terribly awkward for everyone at the court hearing, except for the defence lawyer. Everyone kept turning their eyes away to the side. Everyone spoke in a mumbling fashion, just as, I remember, I used to speak in my English lessons at school so that no one would be able to hear whether I was pronouncing the words properly or not. It was awkward for the prosecutor, and for the officer from the prison. It was most awkward for the judge. It was even awkward for the court secretary. She would sometimes stop tapping on the keyboard and like the others look away somewhere to the side.”

Professor Valentin Danilov, director of the Thermo-Physics Centre in Krasnoyarsk, was charged by the FSB with “transferring secret scientific information” to Chinese scientists and sentenced to 14 (!) years in a strict regime penal colony. This was despite the fact that prominent Russian physicists repeatedly told the FSB and the Prosecutor’s Office that the information Danilov had passed to the Chinese scientists in the course of a joint project was not classified. The information had long before been the subject of open discussion at international scientific conferences and had been published in a number of works. After Valentin Danilov had served two-thirds of his sentence he petitioned to be moved from the strict-regime penal colony to a settlement colony, where conditions are better, to serve the rest of his sentence.

Physicist Valentin Danilov before his arrest. Photo ITAR-TASS
Rights in Russia,
21 Dec 2011, 11:07