Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trepashkin to Spend Last Days in Tougher Jail

For MTMikhail Trepashkin
A court in Yekaterinburg on Thursday ordered that Mikhail Trepashkin, the former Federal Security Services officer jailed in 2003 on charges of divulging state secrets, be freed on Nov. 30, but that he must serve the remaining two weeks in tougher conditions.

The Sverdlovsk Regional Court upheld a lower court ruling that Trepashkin be moved from a minimum-security camp -- where the administration said he had violated a number of rules -- to a regular prison camp.

His supporters called the decision "cowardly" and "pathetic," and said transferring Trepashkin, who suffers from severe asthma, to the regular camp could prove fatal. His family said he had been denied medical treatment.

Michael Kriger, a rights activist who was in court Thursday, said the authorities were doing everything in their power to "get rid of Trepashkin."

"He told the judge in court today that the second he gets out he will file a lawsuit against the prosecutors who brought the illegal charges [of divulging state secrets] against him," Kriger said by telephone.

"For Russia to do this to its own citizens is incredible," said Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Memorial human rights group. "I am in shock. I am ashamed even to comment."

FSB officers arrested Trepashkin in October 2002 on suspicion of the illegal possession of a gun. He has maintained that the weapon was planted by the FSB after he found purportedly damning evidence of the agency's complicity in the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings, in which 300 people were killed.

The arrest came weeks before Trepashkin was to announce his findings.

In May 2003, a court found him guilty of divulging state secrets and handed him a four-year prison term. The nature of the secrets remains unclear.

In 1999 along with Alexander Litvinenko, his former FSB colleague, Trepashkin held a news conference at Interfax accusing the FSB, then led by Vladimir Putin, of using death squads.

Litvinenko subsequently fled to Britain, where he died of radiation poisoning in November 2006. British prosecutors have accused former Federal Guard Service officer Andrei Lugovoi of Litvinenko's murder, but Russia has refused British extradition requests.

Trepashkin is a potential witness in the Litvinenko murder case. British police were refused access to Trepashkin when investigating in Russia last year.