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Russian Supreme Court Rejects Academic's Appeal

17 August 2004 -- The Russian Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by a former arms-control researcher sentenced for treason in what some say was a politically motivated case.

Igor Sutyagin, a former scholar at Moscow's U.S.A. and Canada Institute, was sentenced in April to 15 years in prison for selling information on nuclear submarines to a British firm that Russia authorities claim was a cover operation for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sutyagin has said his work was based on public sources and that he had no evidence the British company was linked with the CIA.

Lawyers for his defense appealed the case, claiming the judge incorrectly instructed the jury to decide the case based on whether Sutyagin had passed on the information.

Sutyagin did not deny supplying the reports. His lawyers said the jury should have instead determined whether he was guilty of illegally passing on state secrets.