I am aware of the case of Alexander Nikitin. Mr. Nikitin is a former Captain in the Russian Navy, from which he retired in 1992. He is currently employed by the Norwegian environmental organisation, Bellona, in which capacity he was co-author of a report on potential pollution dangers arising from Russian nuclear submarines in the Arctic.
He was arrested on 6 February 1996 by the Russian federal security authorities (the FSB) and subsequently charged with espionage inter alia, on the basis that the report referred to above — then at draft stage — contained state secrets. He was held without trial and without bail. He was released on 14 December pending trial.
The case has attracted a good deal of concern, including that of the European Parliament, which has passed a number or resolutions on the subject. I share these concerns and have raised them, in my capacity as EU Presidency, directly with Russian Foreign Minister Primakov during the EU Troika Ministerial meeting on 8 November.
I will continue to monitor the situation closely together with EU partners.