History with an Expiry Date

posted 14 Dec 2011, 13:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Dec 2011, 14:10 ]
Source: HRO.org (info), 12/12/11 

· Freedom of speech  · The Courts  · Security agencies  · Arkhangelsk region 

Boris Sokolov, Grani.ru: The October district court in Arkhangelsk reached a compromise decision in the high-profile case of Mikhail Suprun and Aleksandr Dudarev. The charges against the historian Mikhail Suprun, accused of violating privacy laws, were dropped on grounds of the statute of limitations. In this way the court declined to reach a judgment on the substantive issues of the trial. But Aleksandr Dudarev, the second person in the case and former head of the Arkhangelsk Police Information Centre, was less lucky. The court found him guilty of exceeding his official powers and gave him a one year suspended sentenced with a one-year probation period. 

Mikhail Suprun had been charged with having made public information that was private in nature, in passing to Germany the cases of 5,000 repressed ethnic Germans exiled to Arkhangelsk region. This was done in the framework of a contract for the publication of a book about the repressed families of ethnic Germans signed by the German Red Cross, Pomorsky State University, and Arkhangelsk region police department. It should be noted that under the law all information that relates to facts of political repression cannot be considered private. But the court paid no attention to this. While the court hearings were still in progress the lawyers for the accused lodged an appeal to the Constitutional Court, requesting an explanation of the meaning of the concept “personal privacy”, something that is not defined in any legislative act. However, the Constitutional Court declined to consider their appeal, ruling that it would only consider those appeals that referred to court decisions that had already entered into force. [Read more