(5 May 2017, Canberra) The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Freedom of Access to Information and Resources (FAIR) have joined the call and are asking library and information professionals to support a campaign urging the release of librarian Natalya Sharina, who is currently under house arrest in Moscow.
ALIA will use its FAIR advocacy arm to champion this cause.
Natalya Sharina, the Director of the state-run Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow has been under house arrest since October 2015 following charges of distributing ‘extremist literature’ and embezzlement. The charges relating to ‘extremist literature’ have been dropped and the embezzlement charges are now a civil procedure.
In November 2016, a judge extended Natalya’s house arrest to 28 April 2017. She has been denied access to the medical treatment she requires for high blood pressure. In early March 2017 she was informed by the Moscow authorities that her job contract had expired and had not been extended.
Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, said: ‘We ask fellow library and information professionals to support this campaign as her situation challenges our long-held principles of intellectual freedom and freedom of expression as part of our human rights.’
‘We know LIS professional hold dear these principles and that is why we are giving our Members the opportunity to join UK colleagues in support of this campaign.’
‘ALIA has already sent a letter of support to Natalya Sharina but we think we need to step up the protest. As CILIP and Amnesty International had already started this campaign, we wanted to join and alert ALIA Members and FAIR supporters.’
Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, said: “The global library and information community is standing together to show solidarity for imprisoned librarian Natalya Sharina. With colleagues in Australia and Amnesty International we call for Natalya’s immediate release from house arrest. Her treatment is a reminder of the importance of defending and advancing our human rights through access to information and knowledge.”
How you can help
Please sign this card to the Russian authorities calling for Natalya’s immediate and unconditional release. She is a prisoner of conscience deprived of her liberty for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression.
Cards can be sent to the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation or to:
Individuals at Risk Team
Amnesty International UK
The Human Rights Centre
17 – 25 New Inn Yard
The announcement is here.