Ukrainian journalist Sushchenko sentenced to 12 years for espionage
MOSCOW, June 4 (RAPSI, Nikolay Merkulov) – The Moscow City Court on Monday found Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
The ruling would be appealed, ex-attorney Mark Feygin wrote on his Twitter account. In May, Feygin was deprived of his lawyer status, however, the court allowed him to take part in the trial of Sushchenko as “another person” under the Criminal Procedure Code’s article on defenders.
On May 28, a prosecutor demanded a 14-year prison sentence for Sushchenko.
The case was heard behind closed doors as it was highly classified.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the Ukrainian citizen has "purposively collected classified information about the Armed Forces and National Guard of Russia." Leak of data abroad could cause damage to the national defense capability, the FSB officials claimed earlier.
Charges were brought against Sushchenko in October 2016. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The journalist pleaded not guilty to espionage.
Ukrinform news agency earlier confirmed that Sushchenko had been acting as its reporter since 2002. Since 2010, he has been working as Ukrinform’s personal correspondent in France. According to the agency, Sushchenko arrived in Moscow on private business during his vacation and was arrested immediately upon his arrival.
Ukrinform repelled accusations against Sushchenko calling him "a journalist with years of unblemished professional reputation.”