Mikhail Savva: I have been told to confess to crazy accusations of collaboration with the CIA

posted 5 Dec 2013, 08:56 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Dec 2013, 08:58 ]
4 December 2013

Source: HRO.org (info)
Human Rights activist, Doctor of Political Science, and Professor at Kuban State University, Mikhail Savva has said that the FSB accused him of having links with the American CIA. In a statement published by Rosbalt, the Savva said that he was detained on charges of fraud, which he did not commit.

"Since 13th June 2013, several times every week (with a break from 15 July to 15 August), they have taken me for secret interrogation by the FSB for Krasnodar region. These interrogations were led by the Chief of investigation for Krasnodar region, FSB Colonel IG Bessonov.

In the course of these interrogations I was accused of having agreed to cooperate with the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency and that I had coordinated a network of hostile Russian NGOS in the North Caucasus. These statements are complete nonsense. Nevertheless, they demanded that I confess and implicate other people," Savva said in his statement. According to Savva, these charges were brought against him because he "met with foreigners too frequently, and this could not be by chance."

“I was threatened with imprisonment of 23 years (three years for the criminal case of fraud, with immediate effect; an additional five years to be given later under some article of the Criminal Code or other; and fifteen years for high treason); being sent to serve my time in one of the worst penal colonies in Russia, in Mordovia, for example; with death in the camp or while being transported there," Savva wrote.

"After that on 5th November 2013 at my first court hearing I stated that the case against me had been fabricated, that I was the victim of persecution by the FSB, and about the threats to fabricate charges of high treason against me. On the evening of the same day I was taken to the office of IG Bessonov.

The same people proposed that I publicly renounce my statement. They threatened a heavy sentence in the fabricated case, that other people would be prosecuted, including representatives of NGOS in Krasnodar region (actual names and organizations were not specified) and that compromising materials about me would be published in the media. I refused. They gave me time to think about it until 6 November, when once again I was led to the office of IG Bessonov. I again refused," Mikhail Savva related.

In conclusion Mikhail Savva stressed that it seemed to him “perfectly obvious" that “the FSB oversees the work of the judges in Krasnodar region, including through the practice of special inspections". "It is also clear that the sentence in the fabricated case of fraud against me has already been predetermined. Regarding the prosecution for high treason, formal charges have not yet been filed. In the course of secret interrogation I was told many times that I am an enemy. I am not an enemy of Russia, but I am certainly the enemy of totalitarianism and an opponent of political repression."

The criminal case of Mikhail Savva by the regional FSB was brought in April 2013, and since then he has been held in pre-trial detention. On the basis of an investigation he was charged with two instances of fraud. According to the security services, Professor Savva could be complicit in the embezzlement of funds (approximately 360,000 roubles) of the regional administration issued as a grant. The second instance concerns the work of Kuban State University. Allegedly Savva received about 90,000 roubles for a course of lectures that he did not give. Savva’s defence believes that there is no basis for these charges. According to his lawyers, Professor Savva “did not steal anything and the investigation did not find any evidence of his guilt.”

Mikhail Savva, Doctor of Political Science, Professor at Kuban State University, and director of grant programs at the Southern Regional Resource Centre, is the author of more than 120 academic publications and a large number of articles in the media.

Translated by Graham Jones