IFLA-FAIFE statement on the continuing detention of the Director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature

Message from Martyn Wade, IFLA-FAIFE chair. (IFLA is the International Federation of Library Organizations, and FAIFE is its Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression.)

Dear Colleagues,

In November IFLA issued a statement expressing strong concern over the targeting of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow by the police, and the arrest and house detention of its Director Natalya Sharina. Natalya was charged on suspicion of inciting hatred or animosity toward a social group. IFLA believed that this action was disproportionate and unnecessary, and called for the issue to be resolved in a calm manner without further escalation.

Since then Natalya has been charged with gross embezzlement and she remains under house arrest.

IFLA believes that libraries and librarians have a key role in supporting human rights, including freedom of access to information and freedom of expression, and an attack on libraries or librarians is an attack on democracy and culture. It remains of the view that the treatment of the Library of Ukrainian Literature, and its staff – and in particular Natalya Sharina – is completely disproportionate and unnecessary.

Donna Scheeder, President of IFLA, has now written to the Chairman of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation, and the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation on behalf of IFLA calling for Natalya to be released from house arrest, and for the cessation of all legal action.

IFLA-FAIFE has also issued a further statement on the position of Natalya Sharina which can be found at http://www.ifla.org/node/10488

Amnesty International is also continuing to campaign for Natalya Sharina’s release and has issued an Urgent Action report which can be downloaded in English, French or Spanish from https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur46/3849/2016/en/ The Update includes the addresses of the Chairman of the Investigation Committee and the Prosecutor General.

Martyn Wade
Chair, FAIFE