Jury court declared Russian physicist guilty of state secret information disclosure

Publish date: November 5, 2004

The final court decision is to be declared on November 10.

Danilov’s lawyer Yelena Yevmenova said to the Moscow radio station Echo Moscow that the trial was very special as the issues of state secret were not discussed in front of the jury, so she cannot understand what Danilov had been declared guilty of. She also said the jury worked with the information they received, and it was incomplete. The lawyer believes, the prosecution should have pointed to the state secret information in the contract signed by Danilov, and then the defence could prove it was not so. However, the judge said the relevance of the information to state secret is a legal issue and he alone would decide it.

Danilov was charged with high treason, disclosing state secrets to a foreign organisation, and fraud. Investigators claim Danilov conducted classified research at Krasnoyarsk State University involving top-secret information in 1999, shared the results of studies conducted for the Defence Ministry with a Chinese import-export company and a physics institute. The Federal Security Service also accused him of defrauding Krasnoyarsk State Technical University of 466,000 rubles as director of its thermo-physics centre. On February 16, 2001, charges of high treason were brought against Danilov and he was taken to custody. On December 30, 2003, a jury trial held in the Krasnoyarsk territorial court cleared Danilov of all charges. However, on June 9, 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a plea filed by the Krasnoyarsk territorial prosecutor’s office, overturning Danilov’s acquittal verdict and returning the case to the territorial court.

The court prohibited disclosure of any trial details fearing the journalists could influence the jury. Danilov does not plead guilty, claims he used only open information and never pocketed any money. The lawyers and Danilov’s colleagues say that the research he conducted was declassified back in 1992, Echo Moscow reported. In today’s interview to the radio station, the physicist said he did not expect such a verdict and that “it is possible to manipulate by the jury”.