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Researcher to appeal conviction

Thursday, April 15, 2004

MOSCOW -- Attorneys for the Russian arms control researcher sentenced to 15 years for espionage appealed his case to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Igor Sutyagin, a scholar at Moscow's USA and Canada Institute, was convicted last month on charges that he sold information on nuclear subs and missile warning systems to a British company that investigators claimed was a CIA cover.

Sutyagin maintained that the analyses he wrote were based on public sources and that he had no reason to believe the British company was an intelligence front.

Anna Stavitskaya, one of Sutyagin's lawyers, said the appeal contests the conviction based on procedural violations in the trial.

Stavitskaya said the judge gave the jury incorrect instructions by asking it to determine whether Sutyagin had passed along the information -- which the defendant did not deny -- rather than whether he had passed on state secrets.

Among other violations, Stavitskaya cited an undue change of judge and jurors, as well as the use of evidence by prosecutors the defense says did not pertain to the case. Sutyagin was arrested in 1999.

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