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Russian Court Rejects Appeal By Scientist Accused Of Spying

Igor Sutyagin behind bars in Moscow City Court in 2004

Igor Sutyagin behind bars in Moscow City Court in 2004

ARKHANGELSK, Russia -- A court in the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk has rejected an appeal for the release of academic Igor Sutyagin, who is serving a 15-year sentence for espionage, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Sutyagin, the former head of a division in the Russian Academy of Sciences' USA and Canada Institute, was sentenced in 2004 after being found guilty of passing state secrets to foreign officials.

Sutyagin, 45, denies the charges and in 2007 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe demanded his immediate release.

Amnesty International has named Sutyagin a prisoner of conscience.

The court rejected an appeal for Sutyagin's release on the grounds that he had broken prison rules.

But his lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, told Ekho Moskvy radio that when the appeal was heard in court Sutyagin had served all punitive sanctions for not following prison rules.