No idea what it is, but eleven and a half years anyway


52-year-old academician Igor Reshetin has been sentenced to eleven and a half years imprisonment.  The numerous protests by scientists and human rights defenders were ignored.

Human rights groups see this case as yet another example of the Security Services hunting down Russian scientists.  Ludmila Alexeeva, Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group told the newspaper Noviye Izvestia: “This is the continuation of a whole series of so-called spy cases. It’s been concocted accorded to already tried recipes and by the same State body. Only now the FSB have decided to reject charges of divulging State secrets since they’re becoming harder and harder to prove. Their current ploy is that nobody can understand the sense of “duel purpose technology”.  And yet Reshetin and his deputies are innocent since there are convulsions from a whole range of experts who didn’t find any “duel purpose technology” in the material provided to the Chinese.

The Lefortovsky Court in Moscow passed sentence today, 3 December, reducing the sentence sought by only half a year. Reshetin was convicted of passing “duel purpose technology” .to China and embezzlement. He is to serve his sentence in a harsh regime penal colony.

The activity in question was that of the business enterprise “Central Research Institute Mashinexport” created at the beginning of the 1990s. The lawfulness of its activities was confirmed on a number of occasions by State checks.  The Director of the FSB Nikolai Patrushev announced more than a year ago that Igor Reshetin had been “exposed engaging in unlawful activities”.

Over recent years Russian scientists have fought to have the proceedings against Reshetin abandoned.  His defence intends to appeal the sentence. His lawyer sayis that there were significant mistakes made back during the criminal investigation.

Yury Ryzhov, Member of the Russian Academy of Science:

When the Reshetin case first arose, we specialists in gas dynamics approached various bodies, insisting that there had been no disclosure of State secrets in what Igor was doing… Members of the Academy tried, professors, no effect.

Then several people, including myself, wrote a request to change the preventive measure and not keep him in prison. Also without success.

Previously our Public Committee for the Defence of Science was quite often able to defend colleagues unjustly suspected by the FSB.

However after 2003, when the enforcement bodies became firmly ensconced in power, when they felt in charge of the country, it became ever harder for scientists to prove that they were not enemies of the State. The Commission of the Public Chamber on cooperation with the law enforcement authorities seemed last summer ready to look into “spying trials” and studied our material and expressed agreement with our point of view. However their enthusiasm swiftly waned. The same thing happened with Ella Pamfilova and Vladimir Lukin. They don’t say openly that they’ve run into a wall you can’t break down, it’s obvious after all.

We have written and are writing to all structures: the Prosecutor General, the Minister of Justice, the Head of the FSB, the President.

We even get answers – we’re politely fobbed off. You write for example to the Prosecutor General, and get an answer from some assistant of a deputy who quotes the court sentence and says that it was all according to the law. ..

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