Support The Moscow Times!

2nd Spy Trial Starts for Defense Worker

A Russian defense company employee accused of espionage went on trial for a second time Wednesday in Sevastopol in a contentious case that could affect Russia's military presence in the Black Sea port.

Artur Stepanyants was arrested in a sting operation in 2010 as he and a Ukrainian associate tried to buy outdated Soviet-era military parts in Sevastopol.

Stepanyants said during his first trial that he intended to use the parts to repair similar equipment in Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is stationed in Sevastopol.

The court sided with his lawyers arguments that the parts on their own could not be classified as secret and freed him in May. Defense experts have noted that one of the parts was manufactured in Rostov-on-Don and called the case absurd.

Prosecutors appealed the acquittal to a higher court, which started hearing the case Wednesday.

"The prosecutors are seeking revenge because they think I will sue them" for false arrest, Stepanyants said by telephone Tuesday as he prepared to leave Moscow for Sevastopol.

Stepanyants said he wanted to travel to Ukraine to learn more about the charges.

He earlier promised to take his case to the human rights court in Strasbourg if necessary.

Sevastopol prosecutors were not available for comment Wednesday. They earlier complained in a statement that the lower court's decision to dismiss the case was "one sided."

If convicted, Stepanyants faces up to 15 years in prison.

Related articles:

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more