A RUSSIAN court has paroled a physicist convicted in 2004 of spying for China.
The three-year reduction in Valentin Danilov’s 14-year term was welcomed by rights campaigners, but they warned president Vladimir Putin was using the courts to stifle criticism.
Danilov, who is in his 60s, is set to be freed in ten days. He watched yesterday’s hearing from his prison in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region by videolink.
“I think he was quite shocked when he heard the opinion of the prosecutor who … supported the appeal,” his lawyer Yelena Yevmenova told NTV television.
Danilov said the satellite technology data he passed to China was declassified and that the case was politically motivated. He was first arrested in 2001. He admitted selling information to a Chinese company but said it was in the public domain.
His case was one of several during Mr Putin’s first spell as president, from 2000 until 2008, seen as an attempt to intimidate academics with ties to other countries. Mr Putin started a third term in May.