ALIA sends letter of support to Natalya Sharina

**Update**

Friday, 10 February, 2016: The Guardian writes that Natalya Sharina, a Ukranian librarian held under house arrest in Russia since October 2015, has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Read more

Canberra, Friday 20 January, 2017: The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has sent a letter of support to political prisoner Natalya Sharina, Director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow.

IFLA has stated Natalya was arrested and placed under house arrest in October 2015 after being accused of inciting hatred or animosity towards a social group by allegedly holding banned books in the Library.  In April 2016, she was also charged with misappropriating library funds and her house arrest was subsequently extended.

ALIA agrees with IFLA that the treatment of the Library of Ukrainian Literature, and its staff – and in particular Natalya Sharina - is completely disproportionate and unnecessary, and an attack on libraries and librarians.  As such it is an attack on democracy, learning and culture.
 
Text of letter of Support:
 
Dear Natalya

We are writing on behalf of the 5000 members of the Australian Library and Information Association to express our deep concern about your treatment by the Russian authorities and to assure you of the support of your colleagues across our continent.

Freedom of expression and freedom of access to information are core values of librarians around the world, and it is impossible to imagine the public outcry there would be in Australia if a librarian were to be arrested for allegedly holding banned books in their library.

As a member of IFLA, we are pleased that our international body has made public statements about the unfairness of the accusations you face, and we wish there were more we could do to support you at this incredibly difficult time.

All we can do is to let you know that we are thinking of you and following the situation closely. We very much hope that the court will say there is no case to answer and your trial will be dismissed.

Kind regards

Patricia Genat, President

Vicki McDonald, Vice-President

Sue McKerracher, CEO

ENDS

Released
Friday 20 January 2017 9:45am