Russia jails hypersonic scientist for 14 years on treason charges

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Tuesday jailed a 77-year-old scientist for 14 years on treason charges after he was accused of sharing top secret data related to Russia´s hypersonic missile programme with Germany.

Several prominent Russian scientists involved with research into hypersonics have been arrested and imprisoned in recent years, accused of sharing state secrets with foreign countries.

A court in Saint Petersburg found physicist Anatoly Maslov “guilty of treason ... and imposed a sentence of 14 years in prison,” the press service for the city´s courts said in a post on social media.

The case was heard in closed session as it was classified “top secret”, the court added.

But Russian media outlets reported that Maslov was accused of passing classified data related to Russia´s hypersonic missile programme to German intelligence.

Maslov denied the charges in a court hearing before sentencing last week.

“He said he had done nothing wrong or illegal. He has devoted his life to his family and domestic science ... he did not transfer the alleged information and it doesn´t constitute a state secret,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted his lawyer as saying.

Maslov, who was arrested in June 2022, specialised in research in hypersonics -- a theoretical field with important applications for Russia´s advanced missile programme.

He was the chief researcher at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, part of the Siberian branch of Russia´s Academy of Sciences.