Russian court upholds 15-year prison sentence for alleged CIA spy

Igor SutyaginBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Russia’s highest court has upheld a lengthy prison sentence given to a Russian arms control and nuclear weapons expert, who Moscow alleges was a spy for the United States. The Russian government accuses Igor Sutyagin of collaborating with Alternative Futures, a British-registered consulting company alleged by Moscow to be a front for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Before his 1999 arrest, Sutyagin was Division Chairman on the Russian Academy of Sciences’ USA and Canada Institute. His indictment, prepared by the Russian Federal Security Service, said that he shared with the CIA “classified technical information” about nuclear submarine technology. Sutyagin maintained his innocence throughout his trial, and Human Rights Watch as well as Amnesty International classified him as a political prisoner. The two groups brought the accused spy’s case before the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Russian government prosecutors had violated Sutyagin’s right to a fair trial. Moreover, the Court ruled that Sutyagin’s pre-trial detention, which lasted five years, was illegal. Eventually, Moscow complied with the Court’s ruling and a retrial was ordered, to the delight of Sutyagin’s family. In the retrial, which ended last week, Russia’s Supreme Court agreed with the European Court of Human Rights that Sutyagin’s pre-trial detention had been unlawful; but the court upheld Sutyagin’s 15-yeard sentenced as “entirely legitimate”. Sutyagin was tried in absentia, however, because in the summer of 2010 he was released and fled to the West, as part of the largest postwar spy-exchange between Russia and United States. Sutyagin was one of four men behind bars in Russia, who were swapped for 10 Russian non-official-cover intelligence operatives that had been arrested in a sting operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read more of this post

Russian alleged CIA spy gives interview

Igor Sutyagin

Igor Sutyagin

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Of the four Russians alleged spies that the US and the UK received from Moscow in exchange for the 11 Russian illegals in July, only one is talking to the media. The Russian government convicted Igor Sutyagin, a nuclear proliferation expert, of having links with Alternative Futures, a British consulting company alleged by Moscow to be a CIA front. This past weekend, Sutyagin, who now lives in an undisclosed London location, gave a detailed interview to Natalya Golitsyna, a London-based correspondent for US government-owned Radio Liberty’s. As in his previous statements to the press, the Russian scientist rejected he was ever a spy, claiming that “[t]he first thing in my mind […] was doing and thinking for my country”. He also rejected accusations that he provided Alternative Futures with classified information on Russian nuclear weapons policy: “there was no transfer of information”, said Sutyagin, noting that the information he shared with the British-registered company “was just an illustration of the processes that are going on in Russia tasks”. Read more of this post

Russian ‘spy’ breaks silence, wants to leave UK for Russia

Igor Sutyagin

Igor Sutyagin

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
One of the four Russian alleged spies that were handed over to the West in return for 11 Russian intelligence officers arrested in the US last month, has issued a public statement for the first time since his July 9 release from prison. At the time of his release, Dr. Igor Sutyagin, a nuclear expert who headed the Russian Academy of Sciences’ USA and Canada Institute, had served 11 years of a 15-year sentence, for allegedly passing state secrets to Alternative Futures, a British company alleged to be a CIA front by the Russian government. Once Washington included his name on the top-secret exchange list, Sutyagin was transferred from his prison cell in Kholmogory prison, near Arkhangelsk in northern Russia, to the Lefortovo high-security jail in Moscow. It was there that, following a meeting with this family, he was told that he would receive a Presidential pardon in exchange for his unconditional admission of guilt. Minutes after he agreed to the deal, the Russian scientist was flown to London, still in his prison uniform. Read more of this post