Russian military officer convicted of espionage: report

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A Moscow court convicted a Russian retired lieutenant-colonel of high treason sentencing him to 18 years in prison in a closed-door trial, a report said Saturday.

Andrei Khlychev, 49, was arrested on suspicion of espionage in May 2010, but it is not clear which country he is accused of spying for, said a report in Gzt.Ru online newspaper.

Khlychev earlier worked on the emergency ministry's humanitarian aid programmes "to states in need, including North Korea", it said.

In 2006, Khlychev was in charge of delivering $5 million worth of aid to Pyongyang.

Since then he had retired and lived in the Moscow region town Krasnogorsk.

The media was only allowed to hear the opening remarks and the verdict on Friday, and most of the seats were occupied by FSB security service officers, the website said.

The Moscow city court confirmed to AFP that "a closed-door trial for high treason" had finished, without giving any details, while the FSB has refused to comment.

© 2011 AFP

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