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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Arrest Chemist for Failure to Appear at Trial

Nuria Mirzayanov said that policemen seized her husband Vil at their Moscow flat in the early afternoon, saying they were taking him to a local police station.

"We could have locked the door, but we were tired," she said. "We just wanted things to run their course."

Mirzayanov, 59, is accused of revealing state secrets in a newspaper article published in September 1992 in which he alleged that Russian research into chemical weapons development continued until 1991, later than officially declared.

He has refused to answer questions at a closed-door trial in Moscow, a hearing that has attracted the attention of international human rights groups.

The court issued a warrant for his arrest Wednesday but only acted on it the following day. If convicted, Mirzayanov could face up to seven years in jail.

The scientist says he never revealed the secret formulae of binary and chemical weapons, but exposed the "hypocrisy" of Soviet authorities who denied the weapons were being developed.

He has said that the charges against him were based on an unpublished list of data classified as state secrets. He said this was in violation of the constitution, which stated that legal acts dealing with human rights, freedoms and duties could not be enforced unless they were officially published.

Heads of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences last week appealed to President Boris Yeltsin to drop charges against the scientist. They told Yeltsin in a letter that the charges were being made under a law that came into effect more than five months after Mirzayanov made his public statements.

This was "in clear violation of the Russian constitution" that did not permit laws to be used retroactively, they said.