MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian radio engineer who once worked for military intelligence was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Monday for seeking work with a Swedish company.
The trial of Gennady Kravtsov comes amid numerous and diverse treason and spying cases, emphasizing the Russian government’s increasing suspicion of ties with foreigners. Across Russia, 15 people were convicted of treason last year, nearly four times as many as the year before, Russian Supreme Court data show.
Kravtsov worked for Russia’s GRU from 1990 to 2005 as a radio engineer in satellite intelligence. For five years after he quit, he was barred from taking certain security jobs because of the sensitive nature of the work. When that period was up, he sent a letter to a Swedish company he had found online. He was arrested four years later.
Prosecutors claimed Kravtsov revealed his job description as well as information about the military capability of an out-of-date radio surveillance system.
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The Moscow City Court on Monday found Kravtsov guilty and sentenced him to 14 years in a high-security prison.
Kravtsov’s lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, told The Associated Press that the verdict came as no surprise to him since it crowned “a trial which looked like the Inquisition.” Pavlov said the judge in the trial, which was held behind closed doors, turned down all of the 23 motions the defense filed and did not allow a single defense witness to testify.
He added that the court did not grant the defense team access to the Ministry of Defense’s list of secret information, leaving the lawyers in the dark about the nature of Kravtsov’s alleged crime.
Prosecutors accused Kravtsov of revealing information about the military capability of the Tselina-2 radio surveillance system. Kravtsov’s defense argued that since the satellite, invented in the 1970s, has not been in use since 2000, information about it should not be classified.
The FSB, the main successor to the KGB intelligence agency, on Monday broke its silence on the Kravtsov case, saying in a statement that Kravtsov emailed the letter to the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment, revealing “secret and top secret” information.
“The revelation of this (information) to a foreign state created a threat to the security of the Russian Federation,” the FSB said in the statement.
Kravtsov’s wife Alla said the investigators approached her husband three years after he sent the email, which the family had long forgotten about. He was arrested a year later.
Russian television gave Kravtsov’s case prime-time coverage in news bulletins, and erroneously emphasized in its reports that Kravtsov was an active intelligence employee when he sent the letter.
Pavlov said he would appeal the case at the Russian Supreme Court.