MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court on Monday upheld an earlier decision to issue an arrest warrant for a Russian lawyer accused of disclosing a state secret and currently living in the United States as a political refugee.
Lawyer Boris Kuznetsov, while defending a former senator suspected of attempted fraud, photographed a document that, although labeled “secret,” revealed that the Federal Security Service was wiretapping his client, a specific act of surveillance that Kuznetsov claimed was illegal.
Although Kuznetsov gained access to that document after signing a nondisclosure agreement, he nevertheless presented the evidence to the Constitutional Court in defense of his client, Levon Chakhmakhchyan, who had represented the southern republic of Kalmykia in Russia’s upper house of parliament.
Kuznetsov was subsequently indicted with revealing a state secret. He fled to the United States, where he was granted political asylum in 2008. That same year, Chakhmakhchyan was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for attempted fraud, but he was released on parole last year.
“Kuznetsov is hiding from investigators and refuses to participate in the inquiry,” an investigator said as a reason for issuing the warrant, the RAPSI legal news service, an affiliate of RIA Novosti, reported from the courtroom on Monday.
In April, a Russian court had issued an analogous warrant, but Kuznetsov’s defense team said it did not properly define the measure of incarceration.