Author`s name Petr Ernilin

Moscow Court Sentences Former Foreign Intelligence Officer to 18 Years in Prison

The Moscow military district court on Thursday sentenced Alexander Zaporozhsky, a former member of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, to 18 years of imprisonment to be served in a strict regime colony. He was found guilty of high treason by divulging a state secret to the US.

The court stripped Zaporozhsky of his military grade of colonel and state decorations, specifically the medal "For Services in Battle".

Alexander Zaporozhsky, 52, retired to the reserve in 1997. Earlier he had held the post of deputy head of the first department of the counter-intelligence directorate of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.

The sentence was read out in camera in view of the secrecy of the case. The part of the sentence read out in the presence of journalists indicated that Zaporozhsky had been living in Maryland, US, over the past few years and been on the staff of Water Sheeter Company.

He was detained by Russian counter-intelligence in 2001 and has since been under custody at the Lefortovo pre-trial centre. Zaporozhsky was incriminated several episodes connected with the passing of information constituting the state secret to representatives of foreign special services in the course of the past 5 years.

In particular, he divulged information concerning the activity of the Russian intelligence agencies, and their personnel. According to the investigation, the colonel's actions had done substantive damage to Russia's external security.

In the course of the trial, which has lasted since March 13 of this year, the indictee did not acknowledge his guilt.

The lawyers of the convicted offender intend to appeal the verdict of guilty to the Supreme Court's military board.

Maria Lokotetskaya, RIAN

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