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Russian Physicist Anatoly Maslov Sentenced to 14 Years for Treason Amid Hypersonic Missile Research Controversy

Anatoly Maslov, a 77-year-old physicist from Russia, has been found guilty of treason and has been given a 14-year prison sentence in a penal colony. This case is part of a rising trend of legal actions taken against professionals who have been involved in the development of hypersonic missile technology. Maslov, who vehemently denied any wrongdoing, stood confined within a transparent enclosure in a St. Petersburg courtroom when the verdict was pronounced.

Since 2022, Maslov, along with two other scientists from the same Siberian institute, has been jailed on charges that are identical in nature. Awaiting trial are Alexander Shiplyuk and Valery Zvegintsev, the remaining two individuals. They, along with numerous other scientists, were charged with disclosing classified information while attending global conferences and conducting research.

Yevgeny Smirnov, a lawyer from Pervy Otdel, an organization that provides legal defense for those accused of treason and espionage, asserts that the claims against Maslov and his associates lack any foundation. He asserted, “I am confident that Maslov is innocent of the alleged offenses and is a casualty of the policies implemented by the Russian authorities.”

Olga Dinze, Maslov’s defense attorney, stated that he was taken aback by the verdict but remains resolute in his intention to file an appeal. She portrayed him as a committed scientist who had declined multiple opportunities to depart from Russia for Western colleges, opting instead to make contributions to Russian research.

Russian Hypersonics Expert Sentenced: Anatoly Maslov Gets 14 Years for Treason
Russian Hypersonics Expert Sentenced: Anatoly Maslov Gets 14 Years for Treason

In an open letter, colleagues from the Siberian institute openly expressed their support for Maslov, Shiplyuk, and Zvegintsev, affirming their innocence and stating that their published work had undergone a thorough review to ensure the absence of any forbidden information. According to their statement, these instances have had a deterrent impact on Russian academia, posing difficulties for scientists to sustain their research.

The Kremlin, however, asserts that the accusations are grave and emphasizes that the cases fall under the jurisdiction of the security services. Dinze observed that the inquiry into Maslov commenced subsequent to another accused individual testifying against him in return for a mitigated penalty.

Critics contend that the apprehension of these experts is driven by political motives, with the intention of showcasing that foreign intelligence agencies are actively pursuing Russian military secrets. Smirnov stressed that the scientists who were arrested were not directly involved in the development of weapons. Instead, they were studying related physical phenomena, and their research was available to the public. The arrests have coincidentally taken place during President Vladimir Putin’s appeals for greater investment in Russian science.

This case exemplifies the conflict between scientific investigation and national security in Russia, prompting worries about the prospects of intellectual liberty and global cooperation.

Source : https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-hypersonics-expert-jailed-14-years-treason-2024-05-21/

(The story is published based on the data from a syndicated feed. However there can be minor changes from the original source article.)

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