The Lefortovo municipal court in Moscow has refused to release Russian researcher Igor Sutyagin accused of espionage for the United States.
The court overruled the claim by Sutyagin's defence lawyer Vladimir Vasiltsov who had asked to declare illegal the decision by the Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov prolonging both the researcher's pre-trial detention and prison terms till September 8th, 2002, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports. Lefortovo Court came to a conclusion that the decision is legal and well-grounded and was made "taking into consideration the information on the defendant and the especial complication of Sutyagin's criminal case and the high degree of aggravation of the charges." At the end of the hearings at the Lefortovo court Vladimir Vasiltsov informed the RIA Novosti correspondent that he intended to appeal against the verdict of the Lefortovo court at the Moscow City Court. He noted that "for over two years" defence lawyers had been facing similar verdicts by courts of various instances who did not overrule the defence arguments.
Vasiltsov admitted that the defence hasn't counted on a positive decision by the Lefortovo panel because August 9th the Moscow City Court prolonged Sutyagin's custody term till October 8th, 2002. The defence filed a claim to the Supreme Court of Russia. The date of its examination has not been defined yet, said the attorney. The defendant is being held in custody at the Lefortovo isolation ward in Moscow.