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Andrei Belyayev's trial was held behind doors at the Moscow City Court (file photo)

A Moscow court has sentenced a former Defense Ministry official to 12 years in prison for treason, the latest in a string of treason cases heard by Russian courts.

The Moscow City Court on October 27 also stripped Andrei Belyayev, a retired colonel, of his rank.

Belyayev was arrested on October last year, though no information was ever released as to the allegations he faced, and the trial was held behind closed doors.

He was identified only as being a former employee of the Defense Ministry.

Russian media said he possessed a Swedish residency permit and a Swedish driver's license.

The case is one of a growing number brought by Russian authorities in recent years, often targeting people for disseminating sensitive information that is already publicly available.

Last year, a scientist named Gennady Kravtsov was sentenced to 14 years in prison after he applied for a job in Sweden and included on his resume information about a new military satellite.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS

Officials say a judge in Russia's long-troubled North Caucasus region has been shot and killed.

A regional spokesman for the Investigative Committee said Judge Ruslan Botashev was attacked on October 27 as he was driving his car in Pervomayskoye, a village in the region of Karachayevo-Cherkesia.

The spokesman, Sergei Shuvayev, said a gunman shot Botashev five times before fleeing.

Karachayevo-Cherkesia is one of several republics making up Russia's North Caucasus, which has been long plagued by joblessness and criminal violence, as well as Islamic radicals.

The republic also faces tensions among rival ethnic groups.

With reporting by Interfax and RIA

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