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Moscow court jails Ukrainian journalist for 12 years for espionage

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By Alice Tidey
Sushchenko was arrested in September 2016.
Sushchenko was arrested in September 2016.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

A Russian court sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko to 12 years in jail on Monday, convicting him on charges of espionage which his lawyer and Ukraine deny.

Sushchenko was arrested in September 30, 2016 in Moscow. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) accused him of being a Ukrainian intelligence officer and said he had been collecting top secret information on Russia’s Armed Forces when he was arrested.

Sushchenko’s lawyer, Mark Feygin, denied those charges and said his client was on vacation and visiting relatives in Moscow.

Ukrinform, the Ukrainian state news agency, said Sushchenko had been working for them since 2002 and had been their Paris correspondent since 2010.

In a tweet following the verdict, Feygin said they would appeal.

The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, blasted the court’s decision arguing that the conviction was politically-motivated. 

"The unprecedented cynicism of the Russian "court", which condemned the Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko for fictitious charges, proves that the Kremlin regime will not stop at anything in its attempt to break the spirit of Ukrainians," Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

He said that the Kremlin would "surely bear the punishment for its actions."