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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Court Rejects Alleged U.S. Spy's Appeal for Freedom

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A U.S. businessman accused of spying and held in a top security Moscow jail was refused bail Thursday, despite his lawyers’ arguments that he may have cancer and needs medical help.

Edmond Pope, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer, was arrested in April on charges of purchasing secret design information about a high-tech torpedo for tens of thousands of dollars. His lawyer said he is accused of buying the plans from a Russian science professor.

At the hearing, judges ruled Pope will remain in Lefortovo Prison until a trial in October.

"The judges decided not to let Mr. Pope free until the main trial," said his lawyer, Pavel Astakhov.

He said judges will ask a Russian cancer specialist to visit Pope in jail and granted a request to allow Pope to call his parents in the United States.

Pope suffers headaches and dizziness in his jail cell nearly every day and believes his cancer has returned, Astakhov said. Pope, 54, has a thyroid disease and previously was treated for bone cancer.

The hearing touched only on Pope’s request for release on medical grounds and didn’t consider his guilt or innocence. He could face 20 years in prison.

Astakhov said Pope faces one count of procuring state secrets and that previous accusations of a long-term spying effort were dropped for lack of evidence.

Pope worked for Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory after retiring from the Navy. He later founded CERF Technologies International, a company specialized in studying foreign maritime equipment.

Federal Security Service agents arrested Pope on April 3 and accused him of buying plans for a torpedo propulsion system. Astakhov said Pope denied trying to purchase documents containing secret information.

Meanwhile, on Thursday Astakhov identified the man accused of selling the designs to Pope as a professor at the Bauman State Technical University in Moscow with a surname of Babkin. Astakhov said the man was in jail and will be tried separately.