12 Apr 2022 21:22

Moscow court releases physicist Kovalyov convicted of treason due to illness - court records

MOSCOW. April 12 (Interfax) - Moscow's Lefortovsky Court has upheld the motion to relieve from punishment due to illness Roman Kovalyov, a scientist and the former chief of the Heat Exchange and Aerogas Dynamics Center of the Central Research Institute for Machine-Building (TsNIIMash), who was earlier convicted of treason, court records suggest.

According to the court database, the relevant motion was upheld on Monday, April 11.

The court has thus established the fact that Kovalyov has a medical condition that precludes him from serving his sentence.

Interfax currently has no comments from the court's press service or Kovalyov's lawyers.

Kovalyov was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment by Moscow regional court in 2020.

His mentor Viktor Kudryavtsev, another physicist accused of treason, died in 2021.

Kudryavtsev's defense team had said that Kovalyov may have given confessional evidence and reached an accommodation with investigators.

Kudryavtsev had been offered to cooperate with investigators and to testify against Kovalyov in 2018 in exchange for his release from custody, but refused, his defense lawyers said.

According to the defense team, Kudryavtsev has been charged with sharing secret information, which could be used to develop new types of weapons, with the Brussels-based Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, a partner of TsNIIMash in the FP7-SPACE program. Kudryavtsev was the TsNIIMash curator of the program's Project Transhyberian, which was aimed at "characterization of wall temperature effect during transition of hypersonic flow over a cone by experiments and numerical simulations."

Kudryavtsev has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said that the physicist has had no access to secret information for over 20 years; the FP7-Space program was approved at the government level, and its reports were available to the public.

Representatives of the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics said they conducted a thorough inquiry, but "found no traces of secret information disclosure by the team of Dr. Kudryavtsev in the course of Project Transhyberian."