Russia hands 25-year-sentence to former top spy

27th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Moscow military court on Monday handed down a 25-year sentence to a Russian foreign intelligence agent who was convicted in absentia of exposing a "sleeper cell" network in the United States.

Russian news agencies said 59-year-old Alexander Poteyev was handed a 20-year prison term for committing treason and another five years for desertion.

He is believed to be residing in the United States and is not expected to spend any time in a Russian jail.

"Poteyev's actions delivered a considerable blow to Russia's national security," the Interfax news agency quoted the presiding judge as telling the closed-door hearing prior to the sentencing.

The 10 agents including the glamorous Anna Chapman were expelled from the United States last summer just days after a visit to Washington by President Dmitry Medvedev.

© 2011 AFP

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