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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spy Trial Resumes Against Russian Arms Control Researcher

KALUGA, Russia - A closed-door trial resumed Monday against Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military-political analyst accused of using his research as a cover for espionage on behalf of the United States, and was recessed after less than two hours so that judges could verify witnesses' identities.

Sutyagin's case is the latest in what human rights advocates say is a spate of spy cases intended to discourage researchers from maintaining contacts with foreigners. His lawyers say he is perplexed by the charges against him, and steadfastly maintain his innocence.

"He has always denied, and continues to deny, his guilt. He doesn't see any crime in what he has done," lawyer Vladimir Vasiltsev said.

But the Federal Security Service or FSB, the main KGB successor, says the case is motivated solely by the need to protect Russia's state secrets.

"The attempts to present the measures that are taken in the framework of the law as some sort of human rights violations are baseless," Vasily Stavitsky, an FSB spokesman, told RTR state television.

The agency has accused Sutyagin of selling information on Russia's military potential to U.S. intelligence, RTR reported. His lawyers have said that the indictment claims Sutyagin was enlisted as a U.S. spy when he attended a scientific conference in Britain in early 1998.

Earlier this month, the Russian Supreme Court rejected Sutyagin's appeal to summon dozens of experts, including high-ranking military officials who helped build the government's case against him. His defense team says the accusations are vague.

The trial Monday was quickly adjourned so that court workers could verify witnesses' identification documents, Vasiltsev said. It was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday.

Sutyagin is a researcher at the prestigious Institute for USA and Canada Studies in Moscow. Supporters say he worked only with open sources such as newspaper articles, and that his analysis produced accurate conclusions about the state of the Russian military - something that displeased authorities.

But one of his colleagues, Sergei Trush, said last month that some of the open foreign sources Sutyagin had consulted contained information that was considered secret in Russia.

RTR Monday broadcasted clips of investigative videotapes provided by the FSB, showing investigators counting hundred-dollar bills and combing through piles of papers and books allegedly found in Sutyagin's office, including Tom Clancy's Cold War spy novel, "The Hunt for Red October."