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Russian Prosecutors Reportedly Seeking Lengthy Prison Terms For Couple In Treason Trial


Konstantin Antonets and Antonina Zimina

A Russian couple that is on trial for high treason for photographs taken at their wedding five years ago which revealed the identity of a security operative when published online could face lengthy prison terms.

Prosecutors in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad have asked the court to sentence Konstantin Antonets to 13 years in prison and his wife, Antonina Zimina, to 14 years, according to media reports.

A verdict in the trial is expected on December 24, reports said.

Antonets and Zimina were detained in July 2018 in Kaliningrad and went on trial behind closed doors in May. The couple maintains they are innocent.

In July, there were additionally charged with passing classified information to Latvia, which the couple also rejected.

Zimina's parents told RFE/RL in February that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) suspected their daughter and her husband of providing the intelligence agency in the Baltic state of Latvia with information about a Kaliningrad FSB officer.

According to them, among the guests who attended the couple’s wedding in April 2015 was an FSB counterintelligence officer, Maksim Denisenko, who was their daughter's friend and former university classmate.

At the wedding, Denisenko spoke openly about his employer, offered "assistance if need be," and handed out business cards and posed for photographs with guests, Zimina's parents said.

The parents also told RFE/RL that their daughter's friends from Latvia and Lithuania also attended the wedding.

The daily Kommersant reported in February that some videos and photographs from the wedding were later published on social media and were eventually included in an unspecified Baltic television program, prompting the FSB to open a criminal investigation.

In recent years, the number of cases of alleged high treason has increased dramatically in Russia.

One of the latest high-profile high treason cases involves Ivan Safronov, a journalist and an aide to the Russian Roskosmos space agency chief, Dmitry Rogozin.

Safronov was arrested on July 7 and later charged with passing classified materials to the Czech Republic.

With reporting by Kommersant and Interfax
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