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Title: Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev, Russian scholars held in pretrial detention since March
Publication: SAR Press Release
Author: Scholars at Risk
Country: Russia
Published Date:
October 26, 2010


Scholars at Risk (SAR) is gravely concerned for Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev, professors at Baltic State Technical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. SAR has learned that Bobyshev and Afanasyev have been detained since March without a trial or formal charges issued against them. SAR asks for letters, faxes and emails urging the appropriate authorities to reconsider the professors’ arrests and to ensure their well-being pending their earliest release, including regular access to legal counsel of their choosing, to family and to medical treatment.

Scholars at Risk is an international network of 240 universities and colleges in 29 countries dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion, expression, association and travel. In cases like Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev’s involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, Scholars at Risk investigates hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.

According to international reports, Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev, professors at Baltic State Technical University in St. Petersburg, Russia, were arrested on March 16, 2010. The professors have reportedly been accused of spying and passing state secrets to unidentified Chinese citizens. The accusations stem from a cooperative relationship Baltic State Technical University has with Harbin Engineering University in China, which allowed the professors to give lectures at the Chinese university. According to the chairman of Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev’s academic department, the lectures they gave did not contain state secrets.

SAR understands that Professors Bobyshev and Afanasyev have been detained without charge since March at Moscow’s Lefortovo maximum-security prison. In September 2010, the Lefortovsky district court extended the professors’ pretrial detention for an additional four months to allow the Federal Security Service officers to better prepare their case. The indefinite pretrial detention of Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev without formal charges seemingly contravenes international standards of due process, fair trial and detention procedures, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a signatory.

The sudden arrest of Professors Bobyshev and Afanasyev without a clear basis for their detention raises grave concerns about the ability of scholars, scientists and intellectuals to work safely in and visit Russia. These arrests, combined with the numerous reports of arrests of other scientists throughout Russia, many who are reportedly held for years without formal charges or trial, suggests a wider attempt to intimidate intellectuals and to limit academic freedom in Russia—a suggestion Scholars at Risk finds particularly distressing and unfortunate.

Scholars at Risk therefore respectfully urges authorities to ensure that Russia’s obligations under international law are upheld with regard to Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev. SAR respectfully urges authorities to reconsider the professors’ arrests and respectfully urges the appropriate authorities to ensure their well-being pending their earliest release, including ensuring regular access to legal counsel of their choosing, to family and to medical treatment.

Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent:

-respectfully urging authorities to ensure that Russia’s obligations under international law are upheld with regard to Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev;

-respectfully urging authorities to reconsider the professors’ arrests; and

-respectfully urging authorities to ensure the professors’ well-being pending their earliest release, including ensuring regular access to their families, legal counsel of their choosing and to medical treatment.

PLEASE WRITE TO:

Mr. Dmitri Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation
Ilinka Str, No 23
103132, Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: + 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408

COPIES TO:

Mr. Yuriy Chaika
General Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation
125993, Moscow
GSP-3, 15a B. Dimitrovka Str
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 692-96-00 / +7 495 692 17 25

The Honorable _________
Ambassador of the Russian Federation to [YOUR COUNTRY]
[POSTAL ADDRESS]
[FAX]
[EMAIL]
(See http://www.mid.ru/zu_r.nsf/strawebeng for a list of Russian diplomatic and consular missions worldwide.)

The Honorable _________
Ambassador of [YOUR COUNTRY] to the Russian Federation
[POSTAL ADDRESS]
[FAX]
[EMAIL]

Scholars at Risk
New York University
194 Mercer Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10012 USA
Fax: +1 (212) 995-4402
Email: scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu


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