German politician speaks out for Professor Mikhail Savva

posted 30 Nov 2013, 06:41 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Nov 2013, 06:44 ]
27 November 2013

Source: (info)
“The criminal prosecution of human rights defender Mikhail Savva is a demonstration of Russia’s failure as a democratic state under the rule of law. This is what I said at a meeting with journalists in Krasnodar on Tuesday,” stated Andreas Schockenhoff, deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag and coordinator of German-Russian Inter-society Cooperation in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Schockenhoff, it is impossible to regard the case of Mikhail Savva as a single isolated incident. “My aim is to show the public that we are not indifferent to what is happening here. That is why I insisted the meeting took place in the city where Savva’s trial is being held”, the deputy stressed, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.

Mikhail Savva has stated his innocence of the charges and believes them to be an attempt at political pressure on NGOs, Rosbalt reports.

During his trip, Schockenhoff is planning to meet activists who are supporting the defendant, as well as the wife and daughter of the human rights defender. No official meetings are planned.

It was reported earlier that the hearing at Krasnodar Regional Court on Tuesday to extend Mikhail Savva’s detention did not take place. As Olga Zazulya, a representative of the public support group for the arrested professor, Mikhail Savva, told a Rosbalt correspondent, the defendant had not been taken to the courtroom. Olga Zazulya stressed that the appeal hearing had been rescheduled for Friday.

The criminal case against Mikhail Savva was initiated by the Krasnodar region FSB in April 2013, since which time he has been held in custody. He has been charged with two counts of fraud. According to the FSB, the professor may be involved in the theft of budgetary funds (nearly 360,000 roubles) from the administration of Krasnodar region earmarked as a grant. The second count concerns his work at Kuban State University: he allegedly received nearly 90,000 roubles for a course he did not teach. The defence believes that these charges are unfounded. According to his lawyers, the professor “did not commit theft, and the investigation has not gathered any evidence of his guilt”.

Translated by Nicky Brown