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Russia: Scientist Gets Jail Plus Amnesty After Spy Trial

Vladivostok, Russia; 25 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A court in Vladivostok today sentenced a Russian scientist convicted of disclosing state secrets to China, but then immediately released him. After a four-year legal case, the court sentenced Vladimir Shchurov to two years in jail, but then immediately set him free under an amnesty.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Shchurov in 1999 as he was preparing to cross into China and accused him of illegally exporting equipment he had designed to pick up ocean noises. The FSB says the equipment could be used for military purposes such as detecting submarines.

Shchurov, a scientist with the Russian Academy of Science's Oceanographic Institute in Vladivostok, has denied the charges and said Russian authorities are hampering important scientific research.