Irregularities at espionage cases against well-known researchers (“Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2005 (Events 2004)”)
Valentin Danilov, who was arrested in 2001 on suspicion of providing secret information about space technology to China while working as a researcher at a state university, was acquitted in a jury trial at a Krasnyoarsk court in December 2003. However, in response to a petition by the prosecution, the Supreme Court dismissed the acquittal on procedural grounds in June 2004 and sent the case for retrial. The Supreme Court delivered its seven-page decision after only 15 minutes of deliberation and many observers voiced the suspicion that the decision had been prepared in advance.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights expressed its deep concern at the decision, saying that it failed to see how the minor technical matters cited by the prosecution in its petition could be considered to have unduly influenced the jury’s verdict. In November 2004, another Krasnoyarsk court found Danilov guilty of disclosing classified information to representatives of a foreign state as well as fraud and sentenced him to 14 years in prison. The verdict was reached although no new evidence to support the charges against Danilov was presented to the court in the course of the proceedings. Thus, the verdict was based merely on an expert report from 1999, which – contrary to the law – was not written by people who were experts in the specific area where Danilov conducted research but by people who were only superficially familiar with it. A number of well-known scientists have maintained that the findings of Danilov’s research have been in the open domain for several years and do not constitute classified information.”