Natalya Sharina’s trial began on 2 November and if convicted, she will face up to ten years in prison. Natalya Sharina is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Nataya Sharina’s trial has begun after the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office submitted her case to the Moscow Meschanskiy Court on 7 October. At the first hearing on 2 November, Natalya Sharina declared that she understood, and pleaded not guilty, to the charge of “embezzlement on an especially large scale”. For the charges of “inciting enmity or hatred with abuse of office” she said that it was unclear which of her actions violated the law.
Her lawyer further challenged the indictment by pointing out that there is no evidence in the case file that Sharina had “extremist intentions and anti-Russian sentiments”. He went on to state that the embezzlement charges were unfounded as all the contracts in question had been approved by the higher level officials. Natalya Sharina’s daughter told Amnesty International that many of her mother’s former colleagues, and Library users, came to support her at the trial. The next hearing is planned for 23 November.
The defence team hoped that the Court would send Natalya Sharina’s case back to the Prosecutor’s Office, but on 21 October 2016 the Court rejected their request and ruled that the trial will go ahead. On the same date, the Court also extended her house arrest until 28 April 2017, but allowed Natalya Sharina to have daily walks in fresh air for two hours. This is a positive step, as her daughter has said that the sentence had negatively affected her mother’s health and that she has not been allowed the access to the medical treatment she requires. Natalya Sharina has been under house arrest for a year without being allowed to leave her flat or communicate with the outside world apart from her lawyer and the close relatives she lives with.
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
Calling on the authorities to terminate unfounded criminal proceedings against Natalya Sharina;
Calling on the Russian authorities to lift house arrest of Natalya Sharina immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience;
Urging that Natalya Sharina should have an immediate access to the medical treatment she requires.
Contact these two officials by 16 December, 2016:
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Fax: +7 495 987 5841 / +7 495 692 1725
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General
Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 1 202 298 5700 I Fax: 1 202 298 5735
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION
Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number of actions taken on each case and use that information in our advocacy. Either email [email protected] with “UA 261/15” in the subject line or click this link.
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