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Defiant Siberian scientist is freed from jail and vows to clear his name

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24 November 2012


Valentin Danilov, 61, was today released on parole and immediately vowed to clear his name. Picture: ntv.ru

The 61 year old academic was released on parole from prison number 17 in Krasnoyarsk, and immediately vowed to clear his name. 

'I would really appreciate it if somebody finally told me what state secret I sold', he said, adding that he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The former head of  thermo-physics centre at Krasnoyarsk State University, was initially acquitted by a jury in a 2003 trial, but in a new legal case was found guilty of selling state secrets to a Chinese engineering company and embezzling 466,000 roubles ($15,000).

At issue were research findings on simulating  the impact of a space environment on satellites. Danilov insisted that the information had been declassified and was available from open sources. Danilov won sympathy from many Russian scientists. 

Asked about his health as he left prison, he said: 'I'm fine. Otherwise I wouldn't be here'.

Protesting that he had been wrongly convicted, he told waiting reporters: 'Russia has its own law on state secrets - I have to be officially notified what secret of the Russian Federation I possess. I have to sign that I am acquainted with this'. 

'Nobody offered me such a document. The secrets of the Soviet Union, which I knew - such as what a research and development company on applied mechanics is dealing with and who heads this establishment, Mikhail Reshetnev - these have not been a secret since 1989. 

'Today there is even a square named after Reshetnev and an organisation bearing his name. 

'I knew these secrets. I never created any secret installations even during the Soviet times. If they had not been secrets back then, today they have probably been already handed over to scrap metal collectors'.

He vowed: 'I will continue to work in the field of science but not with science that is connected with space, since everything here that is connected with space is always a state secret'.

Danilov said he would now move back to live with his wife in Akademgorodok, the scientific city in Novosibirsk.

Comments (1)

Good luck Valentin! I've seen a different picture of you showing just how much you've aged - I do hope there is a way to re-build your life.
Tamara , Russia
25/11/2012 16:40

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