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    SCHOLAR SUTYAGIN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON

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    MOSCOW, April 7, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - On Wednesday, the Moscow city court sentenced Russian scholar Igor Sutyagin to 15 years in prison for state treason in the form of espionage, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom.

    Yesterday, the prosecution demanded a 17-year sentence for Mr. Sutyagin to be served in a high security prison.

    On April 5, 12 jurymen were unanimous in finding Mr. Sutyagin guilty of state treason, while the majority of jurors, 8, found that the defendant did not deserve leniency.

    "Losing a battle does not mean losing the whole war. We will fight for Mr. Sutyagin to the end," said the scholar's defence lawyer Boris Kuznetsov.

    The lawyer said the defence would appeal to Russia's Supreme Court. Moreover, the defence has grounds for appealing to the Constitution Court, according to Mr. Kuznetsov.

    Mr. Kuznetsov said the European Court on Human Rights had adopted a decision to consider the complaint filed by Mr. Sutyagin's lawyers ahead of schedule.

    The lawyer recalled that the defence appealed to the European court after ungrounded replacements in the jury and court hearing delays. Mr. Kuznetsov added the defence would seek the cancellation of the verdict, something it had grounds to do.

    The trial of Igor Sutyagin began on November 3, 2003. Mr. Sutyagin, in charge of the military-technological and military-economic policy at the foreign political research department of the USA and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is accused of passing classified information to Britain's Alternative Futures consulting company.

    The company has nothing to do with scientific activity and was used as a cover by the American intelligence agency, according to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).

    Mr. Sutyagin does not admit guilt. He admits he passed information about Russia to foreigners, but insists he obtained it from newspapers and journals.

    The Sutyagin case was already tried by the Kaluga regional court (Russia's Central Federal District). On December 27, 2001, the court remanded the case on grounds that major violations of the criminal code had been committed during the preliminary inquiry.

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