March 24, 2021
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
President of the Russian Federation
Ul. Ilyinka, 23
Fax: +7 495 9102134
Dear President Putin:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern over the continued imprisonment (almost halfway through his 15-year sentence) of scientist and entrepreneur Valerii Selianin – a defendant in a case of high treason (Article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) for allegedly assisting two Iranian citizens on activities that compromised Russian national security.
Valerii Selianin was sentenced on the 17th of June, 2015, to 15 years in prison by the Moscow City Court. Apparently, Selianin ordered publicly available equipment, such as a high-frequency generator and its lamps produced in the 1960s, for two Iranians who were forming a company in Russia. The investigation concluded that this equipment was secret and he was convicted despite Selianin’s state-appointed defense lawyer explaining that there was no evidence of a crime having been committed. Indeed, his position would not offer him any opportunity to obtain state secrets.
We are concerned that our colleague, Valerii Selianin, is part of a recurring pattern of arresting Russian scientists in order to increase the police powers of the state.
We write to urge you to ensure that he is treated fairly, that he is provided with adequate medical treatment, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and be afforded regular access to family and independent legal representation. We further urge that whatever legal proceedings are held in his case meet international standards for fair trials. If he was in fact engaging in a legal business venture using technology that was unclassified at the time, he must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will be closely following developments in this case.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 1 (202) 298-5700 I Fax: 1 (202) 298-5735