Russia jails space engineer for 7 years for selling state secrets to China

  • PTI, Moscow
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2016 23:50 IST
Vladimir Lapygin, a decorated space engineer, is accused of treason; he is believed to have sold state secrets to China. (AFP File)

Russia sentenced an elderly decorated space engineer and university instructor to seven years in prison for state treason, an official said on Friday.

A spokesman for Moscow City Court told AFP that the entire case against Vladimir Lapygin was “top secret”.

“The verdict was pronounced on September 6,” he said.

Russian media said Lapygin is in his late 70s and spent months under house arrest after his initial detention in May 2015. He was reportedly accused of giving Russian secrets to China.

Russian agencies said Lapygin taught at Moscow’s Bauman State Technical Institute. Information on the university’s page suggested he advised graduate students in the mechanical engineering department.

Lapygin is also an employee of Tsniimash, the Central Research Institute of Machine Building, which develops rockets and is administered by the Roscosmos space agency.

In 2014, he received a medal for his contributions to Russia’s economy and defence capabilities.

Lapygin is just the latest person convicted for state treason and espionage in a list of Russians and foreigners which has been growing rapidly since 2014 and has included an air traffic controller, a housewife and a former intelligence officer.

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