Drs. Svytoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev, professors at Baltic State Technical University in St. Petersburg, Russia have been detained since March without a trial at Moscow’s Lefortovo maximum-security prison. 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 Drs. Bobyshev and Afanasyev’s academic department, the lectures they gave did not contain state secrets.
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 on espionage charges that seem to have no basis in fact 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.
CCS urged Russian authorities to reconsider the professors’ arrests, whether the charges have any basis, and to ensure their well-being pending their earliest release, including regular access to legal counsel, to family and to medical treatment.