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SOS from Moscow
Dear friends and colleagues!
In few days, on 28 March 2005, The Moscow's Taganskaya District Court will declare its verdict on trial against Director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum Yuri Samodurov, who is under threat of three years of imprisonment, and two his colleagues Ludmila Vasilkova and Anna Mikhalchuk - prosecutor demanded two years of imprisonment for each of them. In case Court will agree with accusation they will be arrested in the hall of the Court. They are accused in "inciting religious hatred" because of exhibition "Beware, Religion!" organized in Andrei Sakharov Museum in January 2003. This was an exhibition of modern art which hurt feelings of some believers. And this was used by most black political forces in their attempt to turn Russia to the military theocracy of the type of Iran.
I know Yuri Samodurov as an absolutely kind personality, the word "hatred" is not applicable to him at all; and he many times repeated that he did not want to hurt anybody with the exhibition "Beware, Religion!". I personally did not like this adventure, especially because it was connected with the name of Andrei Sakharov, and I criticized it openly as a mistake. However THOUSAND TIMES MORE I condemn the State persecution for the organization of the art exhibition. And I also wrote about it in media in June 2004 before the first trial. That time Judge happily strictly followed Russian Rule of the Law, cancelled all accusations against Yuri Samodurov and his colleagues, and declared them non-guilty. Unfortunately there are strong forces which were not satisfied with this Decision. Now the case is considered by another Judge.
28 of March is a bifurcation point. The arrest of Director of Andrei Sakharov Museum will be considered by interested influential people as most important signal. Just one example to explain how serious the threat is: In the end of January 2005 at the military base of Russian strategic nuclear forces the Conference of the Russian Orthodox Priests of military units of the Russian Army was carried out. The Talks of important speakers were full of the Cold War time anti-American sentiments, they also explained to military Priests that Holocaust is just a Jewish invention and that Jews concluded secret agreement with Hitler to send to gas-chambers only baptized Jews, etc.
Thus I ask you to protest as wide as possible the persecution of Director of Andrei Sakharov Museum Yuri Samodurov and his colleagues. And to demand the General Prosecutor of Russia to observe Russian Law and to cancel all accusations against them.
P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute,
Head of the "Right of the Child" NGO, Moscow
Appeals may be directed to:
1) Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation
Fax: (7-095) 206-6277, 206-8510, 206-3961
Address: Moscow, Kremlin, 103132, Russia.
2) Vladimir Vasilievich Ustinov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation
Fax: (7-095) 921-4186
Address: Bol'shaya Dmitrovskaya st., 15-A, Moscow, 125993, Russia.
3) Dmitri Anatolievich Medvedev, Head of Administration of President of the Russian Federation
Fax: (7-095) 206-0983
Address: Staraya Ploschad', 4, Moscow, 103132, Russia.
21 March 2005