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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Grants Sutyagin a Jury Trial

Igor Sutyagin, a scholar at Moscow's respected USA and Canada Institute accused of spying for the United States, has been granted a jury trial in a stark change from the usual secrecy surrounding treason cases, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The Moscow City Court on Monday granted the request, lawyer Boris Kuznetsov said. He said the court was obliged by law to grant it.

Kuznetsov said that as far as he knew it would be the first espionage trial in Russia to be heard by a jury.

Jury selection will begin Nov. 3, according to Case No. 52, a web site maintained by Sutyagin's supporters.

The Constitution provides for jury trials, but until recently they existed only on an experimental basis in some regions.

Sutyagin was arrested in October 1999 on suspicion of passing Russian military information to a British company allegedly set up as a cover for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Sutyagin denies the charges, maintaining he used only open sources in his work and had no reason to believe the British company was an intelligence cover.

In 2001, a court had been expected to deliver a verdict in the case, but instead instructed prosecutors to continue investigating and left Sutyagin in jail.