Russia: physicist in prison for illegal dual-use exports

Oscar Kaibyshev, a physicist in the Bashkortostan region about 1,200 kilometers east of Moscow, was convicted of illegally exporting dual-use technologies - techniques and equipment that can be used both for civilian and for military purposes - to South Korea.

Kaibyshev, 67, has denied the charges, saying the technology had already been patented in the United States and other countries. A U.S. publisher of a book co-authored by Kaibyshev also maintained the scientist's innocence.

Neither the court nor Kaibyshev's lawyer could immediately be reached for comment.

The technology was developed by the Institute for Metal Superplasticity Problems, which Kaibyshev headed until he was suspended in January 2005. The technique uses molecular processes to shape metals without weakening them, and piqued the interest of the South Korean tire company ASA, the AP reports.

Kaibyshev said ASA wanted to use the technology to make automobile tires. However, the Federal Security Service or FSB, a successor to the KGB, found that the information allegedly sold by Kaibyshev could also have been used for the manufacture of rockets and other arms, ITAR-Tass said.

An official at the institute declined to comment Tuesday; ASA and the FSB's Ufa branch could not be reached.