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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spy Suspect Boycotts 'Farce' of Own Trial

Fed up with an espionage trial he calls a "farce," former diplomat Valentin Moiseyev has decided to boycott his own trial, telling his lawyers not to question witnesses, make arguments or otherwise participate in the closed-door trial.

In December 1999, the Moscow City Court convicted Moiseyev of spying for South Korea. But that decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial. Just before a verdict was to be given in the second, 2 1/2-month trial, the case was transferred to a new judge due to the illness of the first judge, Tatyana Gubanova.

A third trial began Nov. 29 and could take months to be completed. Meanwhile, Gubanova is not ill and is going to work, said Maria Gnatova, a secretary at the court.

According to a statement circulated by Moiseyev's wife, Natalya Denisova, the former diplomat is demanding that Gubanova finish the case.

Moiseyev's supporters have questioned the legality of the third trial and say Gubanova simply ducked out of the politically charged case.

Gnatova said the case was transferred to a different judge "so as not to drag out the trial."

"Who knew how long she would be sick?" she added.

Moiseyev's lawyer Yury Gervis said he understood Moiseyev's frustration, but did not agree that maintaining silence for the duration of the trial was the right approach. However, if Moiseyev insists that he and his colleague keep quiet, they will have no choice but to listen to him, he said.