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Russian Court Orders Review of Verdict Against Scientist

Valery Golubkin in court. Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

A Russian court has overturned the verdict of an aerospace scientist who was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of treason linked to his participation in a multinational high-speed flight project, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported on Wednesday.

Valery Golubkin, 72,  a professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, was arrested in April 2021 on suspicion of passing state secrets to a NATO member country.

In June 2023, Golubkin was found guilty of high treason and handed a 12-year sentence in a maximum-security penal colony.

Golubkin’s treason case surrounds claims that, together with his Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) boss Anatoly Gubanov, he had shared secret hypersonic development materials as part of a collaboration with the EU on the world’s first civil hypersonic airliner, the HEXAFLY-INT.

Russian prosecutors accused Golubkin and Gubanov of passing state secrets to Dutch colleagues contained within two reports on HEXAFLY-INT, according to Russia’s legal rights group Perviy Otdel.

The Moscow City Court presented “models of hypersonic vehicles” and the business card of Johan Steelant, a European Space Agency senior project engineer, as evidence against Golubkin, according to the independent news website Mediazona. 

Golubkin has denied the charges against him.

The case has been sent for a review, RIA Novosti said.

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