Russian Scientist Sutyagin, found guilty of betraying national secrets

Igor Sutyagin, convicted of betraying his country, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison by the Moscow City Court. Sutyagin is to serve the sentence in a strict-regime colony, a Rosbalt correspondent reported. Incarceration is considered to have begun from the moment Sutyagin was arrested in Obninsk on October 29, 1999. The trial began on November 3, 2003. A jury returned a guilty verdict on Monday.

Sutyagin, who had headed the military-technical and military-economic policies group within the foreign-affairs research department of the USA-Canada Institute, was charged with transmitting secret government information to representatives of Alternative Futures, a British consulting firm. According to Federal Security Bureau (FSB) information, the firm is a 'front' for United States intelligence and is involved in no scientific work. The Sutyagin matter was first considered by the Kaluga Regional Court, which on December 27, 2001, remanded it for reinvestigation. The Kaluga court took that action after finding 'significant violations of the law on criminal procedure' in the authorities' preparation of the Sutyagin case. When the reinvestigation was completed by investigators of the FSB, the case was transferred to Moscow City Court.

'The only thing I'm guilty of is socializing with foreigners,' Igor Sutyagin declared to journalists Wednesday at the Moscow City Court after he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for betraying state secrets. Sutyagin again asserted that he 'had never used any closed sources in his research but took all his information from newspapers and journals.'

Prosecutor Yury Volgin, in commenting on the judge's decision, said the sentence was in line with the law. 'The sentence takes into consideration Sutyagin's personality, the seriousness of the crime and the harm caused the state,' he said. Volgin refused any further comment. Defense attorney Boris Kuznetsov said that 'the defense is prepared to fight [for Sutyagin] to the end.'

The International Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg has accepted a request from the Sutyagin defense to give priority to a review of the Sutyagin matter.

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