Call to pardon Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov


Russian human rights defenders and public figures have addressed an appeal to President Putin, asking him to pardon the scientists Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov, sentenced to 15 and 13 years respectively on charges of spying.

To the President of the Russian Federation

V.V. Putin

Dear Mr President,

In January 2007 members of your Council on the development of civic society and human rights, as well as a group of fairly well-known scientists, public figures and politicians, asked you to pardon Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov, sentenced to 15 and 13 years imprisonment under Article 275 of the RF Criminal Code (State treason).

It would be superfluous to repeat that neither case has any basis in fact. However all possible court stages upheld the convictions. We are therefore not attempting to appeal the court rulings although we are convinced that they are unjust.

We cannot consider it mere coincidence that in February 2007 law-abiding Valentin Danilov (imprisoned in Krasnoyarsk) received simultaneously two punishments for breaking prison rules. The colony administration in Krasnoyarsk also considered him unworthy of being pardoned.

At the same time in Arkhangelsk (4 February) supposedly over a mobile telephone discussed on him, Igor Sutyagin was placed in a PKT [punishment cells, within the prison colony]. It seems highly doubtful that all of this is a chance coincidence

We would ask you to note that all these problems began after representatives of civic society and of the convicted scientists turned to you with a request to pardon them.

It would appear that the process of pardoning, as well as criminal cases themselves, remain under the control of the FSB [the Security Service]. The latter are doing all in their power to prevent the release of Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov even through a pardon which in no way rehabilitates the men.

We would ask you, the head of a huge country and believer, to personally show mercy to these two not young scientists in accordance with Article 89 of the Constitution and pardon Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov, removing from this process the numerous intermediaries.

We would be very grateful if you would take the decision to pardon the scientists without using the procedures of Presidential Decree No. 1500 from 28 December 2001.  The Constitution of the Russian Federation allows for this.

Yours sincerely,

LM. Alexeeva, Chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group

N.Y. Belykh, Head of the Federal Political Council of the Union of Right Forces

V.L. Ginsburg, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nobel Laureate

M.G. Rozovsky, National Artist of Russia

Y.A. Rykov, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

A.K. Simonov, President of the Foundation in defence of openness

E.I. Cherny, Executive Secretary of the Scientists’ Defence Committee


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