Former Russian Defense Ministry Employee Gets 12 Years for Treason

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In a closed door hearing, the Moscow City Court on Thursday sentenced a former Defense Ministry employee, Andrei Belyaev, to 12 years in a Russian penal colony on charges of high treason, the Interfax news agency reported.

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, the nation has seen a sharp rise in treason charges. Fifteen such cases were reported in the media in 2014, and the number rose to 20 by the time of Belyaev's arrest in December 2015.

Details of the case have been listed as “top secret,” and information on Belyaev's case is not immediately forthcoming. According to Interfax, Belyaev is a retired colonel. He held a residency permit in Sweden. As part of the investigation, the state reportedly confiscated his Mitsubishi car.

Belyaev is not the first military man to be convicted of treason in the last year. Around the time of his arrest, the Kaliningrad regional court sentenced a colonel in the Baltic Fleet's reserve force, Fyodor Boriskin, to 12 years in a penal colony for treason.

Boriskin was accused of espionage and selling state secrets. He pled guilty to cooperating with Polish intelligence services, the TASS news agency reported. Another prominent case involved a former radio expert for military intelligence sentenced for faxing his CV to a Swedish company.

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