Russian professor convicted of treason over missile data dies in jail

14th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Russian academic convicted of treason for allegedly passing details of Russia's missile programme to China has died while serving a 12.5 year sentence, the prison service said Tuesday.

Yevgeny Afanasyev died at 62 from a heart attack at a prison camp in central Russia, a spokesman for the prison service told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"He died April 11. He had a heart attack," a spokesman for the Ulyanovsk region branch of the prison service said.

In 2012 Afanasyev, a professor at the Voyenmekh Baltic State Technical University in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.

His fellow professor at the engineering school, Svyatoslav Bobyshev, was sentenced to 12 years for "complicity in treason."

The two men were arrested in 2010 and accused of handing over information on the Bulava, Russia's latest submarine-launched ballistic missile, to Chinese intelligence.

The men had lectured at China's Harbin Technical University as part of an exchange programme.

The Bulava, which has a range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) and can be equipped with 10 nuclear warheads has suffered numerous failed test launches over the past decade.

It was last successfully test-fired in November last year.


© 2015 AFP

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