Russian court sentences man to 10 years in treason case

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 8:42 AM

(Reuters) – A military court in Moscow has sentenced a 33-year-old man to 10 years in prison after finding him guilty of treason and other crimes, a Russian lawyers’ association said on Wednesday.

Vyacheslav Lyutor, a resident of St Petersburg, had stood accused of attempted treason, cooperation with a foreign state and participation in a terrorist organisation, the Pervy Otdel (First Department) association said.

It did not say if Lyutor admitted guilt.

Russia independent news outlet Mediazona reported the prosecution charged Lyutor, a bank employee, with collaborating with the Freedom of Russia Legion, a Ukraine-based paramilitary group of Russians who oppose President Vladimir Putin and which Moscow says has led attacks into Russian territory, resulting in civilian deaths.

The prosecution alleged Lyutor was planning to leave Russia and go to fight for the Ukrainian army, Mediazona reported, citing a correspondent in the courtroom.

Lyutor’s mother told Pervy Otdel that her son suffered from serious health problems and was “the victim of provocation”.

Russian authorities launched 70 treason cases in 2023, a record figure, according to Pervy Otdel. Russian independent media said that was more than over the previous 20 years combined.

President Vladimir Putin introduced life sentences for treason last year in a move Moscow cast as an effort to protect the country from infiltration by Ukraine and Western intelligence services.

(Reporting and writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)