Russia uses psychotropic drugs on inmates: convicted spy

25th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Russian arms expert convicted of espionage and later included in a major spy swap with the United States accused the authorities Thursday of using psychotropic drugs during prison interrogations.

Igor Sutyagin wrote in an article with the Human Right in Russia website that he was fed soup and cognac containing psychotropic drugs while in a Moscow prison in 1999.

Sutyagin, a researcher at the respected USA and Canada Institute in Moscow, was charged in November that year with treason, facing up to 20 years in jail.

After his first trial broke down, he was convicted in 2004 of handing over classified information to a British company that Russia claimed was a CIA front, and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

In July, he and three other convicted spies were exchanged for 10 alleged Russian undercover agents working in the United States. Sutyagin now lives in London.

In the article, the researcher said the drugs made him lose his short-term memory and that his problems continue to this day.

"I could easily put something down somewhere, turn around, and then immediately start asking my cell neighbor: Listen, did you see where I put that thing?" Sutyagin wrote.

The charges were flatly denied by Russian security and law enforcement officials, with one unidentified secret service agent telling the Interfax news agency that they were part of Sutyagin's "public relations campaign."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's human rights envoy also expressed doubt about the allegations.

"You can say whatever you want in the media," Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax. "If he believes his rights were violated, he can certainly take certain procedural steps for protecting them."

© 2010 AFP

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