US spy sentenced to hard labour

A former Russian intelligence officer has been sentenced to 18 years' hard labour for espionage and treason.

    American Edward Pope, also found
    guilty of spying, was pardoned last
    year

    Colonel Alexander Zaporozhsky was found guilty of providing information about Russian international intelligence activities to foreign governments for five years.

    The 52-year-old spy is also suspected of revealing the identities of more than 20 Russian US-based agents, one a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    "It's possible that these activities allowed for the unmasking of Robert Hanssen," the online Russian journal Gazeta suggested.

    Hanssen, a former FBI agent, was jailed for life in the United States for spying for Russia and the Soviet Union for 20 years.
     
    Tough sentence

    Since his retirement in 1997, Zaporozhsky had been working for an American company in the state of Maryland, but he was arrested in Moscow in 2001 and kept at Lefortovo prison.
     
    The court gave Zaporozhsky a tougher sentence than the 16 years demanded by prosecutors.
     
    He was also stripped of the rank of colonel and of several medals he received as a senior officer in the intelligence services.

    "The official version is that he was spying for a number of foreign governments," Yevgeny Komissarov, the head of the prosecutor's press service told journalists.
     
    However, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said Zaporozhsky had passed on secrets to the CIA.

    His lawyers, who refused to comment on the case, plan to appeal the verdict, Komissarov said.

    There have been several spy cases in the US and Russia in recent years, with Washington expelling more than 50 Russian diplomats.
     
    In February a Russian court gave university professor Anatoly Babkin an eight-year suspended sentence for passing on information to former US naval intelligence officer Edmund Pope.
     
    Pope was himself given a 20-year prison sentence in December 2000 but was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin because of ill health.


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