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Leading Siberian scientist to be paroled in controversial Chinese 'espionage' case

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13 November 2012


Professor Valentin Danilov, 66, will be released in ten days. Picture:

The criminal case against the academic was launched in 2000 on charges of espionage and embezzlement following his arrest by the Federal Security Service (FSB) a year earlier. 

He was accused of passing Defence Ministry data to officials of the All-China Import-Export Company Precision Engineering and the Lanzhou Institute of Physics in 1999, and misappropriating 466,000 roubles.

Danilov, 66, was kept in a pre-trial detention centre from February 2001 until October 2002 but was cleared by a jury of all charges during a trial in December 2003. However, the Russian Supreme Court cancelled the jury verdict in June 2004 and sent his case for a retrial.

The same year, a new trial was opened against him for selling classified scientific data to China, even though he claimed all the material had been declassified and was in open sources. Human rights organisations backed his claims. 

This led to a 14 year sentence for treason - subsequently reduced by 12 months - in a maximum-security prison. Last year, a Krasnoyarsk court rejected Danilov's appeal to be moved to a lower grade penal colony. 

Tuesday's ruling means he will be paroled the remainder of his sentence, namely three years, two months and 11 days.

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