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Russia Jails Former Police Officer On High Treason Charge

A Russian court has sentenced former police officer Aleksandr Zhitnyuk to 13 years in prison on high treason charges.

The Moscow City Court said on December 11 that Zhitnyuk was found guilty of handing classified materials to Norwegian intelligence.

Russian media reports said earlier that Zhitnyuk was arrested in November last year on suspicion of giving secret materials to a Norwegian man, identified as Frode Berg, who was also detained by Russian authorities.

A Moscow court later ordered Berg be placed in pretrial detention.

Norwegian media reports have described Berg as a 63-year-old former border inspector, saying that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry was working to provide him with assistance.

According to Russian investigators, Berg mailed money to Russian citizens recruited by a foreign intelligence service in exchange for classified military information.

Berg's lawyer, Ilya Novikov, said last month that his client might face trial by February 2019. he also said his client denied any wrongdoing.

The case is one of several in recent years in which Russian citizens have been accused of treason or disseminating classified or sensitive information.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax