19 June 2020
Hi. Team 29 here.
The big news for us this week was undoubtedly the revelation that 78-year-old professor and President of the Arctic Academy Valery Mitko has been charged with treason. The restrictive measure chosen for him was house arrest without the right to go out for a walk, meet his own children, or speak to the media, and it has been in effect since 11 February 2020.
In the history of treason and espionage prosecutions in Putin’s Russia, Mitko’s case is perhaps one of the most significant. The head of Team 29, lawyer Ivan Pavlov, who, together with lawyers Yevgeny Smirnov and Anton Golubev, has been defending the professor since June of this year, said in an interview he gave to Bumaga that never before has an academic of Mitko’s stature been prosecuted under this article. Yet it’s clear that such attacks on science amount to a trend. In recent years, treason charges have been brought against elderly academic Viktor Kudryavtsev, who is similarly being defended by Team 29 lawyers, and a host of other Russian scientists.
Team 29 is committed to do everything in its power to ensure a fair trial for Valery Mitko. In all likelihood, the very earliest that a court hearing in the professor’s case will take place is the autumn. He’s had his restrictive measure extended until 10 October (the lawyers have appealed). Meanwhile, we’re preparing a petition in aid of the professor and are counting on your support.
With faith in justice,
Translated by Lindsay Munford