Moscow, 19 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - A Moscow court is scheduled to rule today on an appeal by a U.S. businessman accused of espionage. Russian authorities arrested and imprisoned Edmund Pope last April on charges that he tried to secure Russian weapons systems secrets. Pope, a former Navy intelligence officer, has cancer and is appealing to either be released on bail or transferred to house arrest on grounds of ill health. Russia's domestic security service, the FSB, said today that a doctor examined Pope last week and concluded he is healthy enough to stay in prison and needs no special treatment before his trial in mid-October.
The U.S. State Department has cited Pope's ill health in urging Russia to drop the charges, and the U.S. ambassador to Russia has said Washington is convinced Pope is innocent.