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Verdict on Russian scientist accused of spying postponed

RIA Novosti

02/08/2006 14:41 NIZHNY NOVGOROD, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - The verdict in an espionage trial of a Russian scientist has been postponed until August 8, a court spokesman said Wednesday.

Oskar Kaibyshev, 66, the former director of the Institute for Metals Superplasticity Problems (IMPS), is being tried in the Supreme Court of the Volga republic of Bashkortostan for passing dual-use technology to South Korea.

The verdict should have been announced on August 2, but was postponed to give the judge more time to prepare a text.

The trial of the scientist from Ufa in Russia's Urals has been held behind closed doors, as the Russian Secret Service (FSB) says top-secret information could emerge in the case.

The case against Kaibyshev, who faces 10 years in prison if convicted, was initiated after FSB officers detained last year a South Korean delegation that was leaving Russia with 500 pages of technical documentation and several compact discs containing technical data from Kaibyshev's institute.

The institute said the confiscated data focused on years of collaboration between the institute and tire manufacturer ASA, a subsidiary of Seoul-based Hankook Tire. Kaibyshev said the firm was using superplastic technology in designs for high-pressure tires. The technology is apparently able to stretch titanium alloy to improve its mechanical properties, but FSB experts said the technical data provided to South Korean experts could be used to produce missiles and weapons.

The trial follows a series of cases involving the FSB, and scientists that the service has accused of passing classified information to other countries.

Igor Sutyagin, an arms researcher at the foreign policy department of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April 2004 for passing classified information to Britain-based Alternative Futures Consulting, which Russia's security service said was front for U.S. intelligence.

In November 2004, the Krasnoyarsk Regional Court sentenced thermal physicist Valentin Danilov to 14 years in prison for spying for China after he had been found guilty on charges of high treason and fraud. In June 2005 the Supreme Court of Russia cut the prison term by one year. Both cases caused uproar with human rights activists who claimed the cases had been fabricated.

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