Russian court upholds sentences in China missile spy case

Moscow, Feb 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia's Supreme Court has upheld jail sentences handed down to two Russian university professors who were convicted of passing secret information about the navy's Bulava ballistic missile to the Chinese secret services.

"The Supreme Court's criminal cases board has accepted the opinion of the Prosecutor General's Office, has not upheld the convicts' appeal and has left the lower court's sentence unchanged," the court said in a press release.

In 2012, the St. Petersburg City Court sentenced Baltic State Technical University professor Yevgeny Afanasyev to 12 years and six months and his colleague Svyatoslav Bobyshev to 12 years in jail.

According to investigators, the two professors took "secret state information" with them on a business trip to China in 2009 and "passed it to the Chinese military intelligence service for financial reward".

The judge said that data included the specifications of the Bulava submarine-launched missile, and could also be used in systems to detect Russian submarines.

Shortly after they were arrested in spring 2010, Russia's Committee for the Defense of Scientists pronounced them "victims of spy mania".

The Bulava is a new submarine-launched ballistic missile under development for the Russian Navy, which will be deployed on the new Borei class ballistic-missile submarines.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vt