News / USA

US Deports 10 Russian Spies

Drawing showing five of the 10 arrested Russian spy suspects in a New York courtroom, 28 Jun 2010
Drawing showing five of the 10 arrested Russian spy suspects in a New York courtroom, 28 Jun 2010

Ten Russian agents who infiltrated suburban America and acted as spies for Moscow headed back to Russia Thursday, just hours after a U.S. judge ordered their deportation as part of a swap between the United States and Russia. 

The 10 prisoners, nine of them Russians, lived and worked under false names in American cities including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Several were married couples with children born and raised in the United States. Arraigned before federal Judge Kimba Wood in downtown New York Thursday, the five women and five men each pleaded guilty to charges of having failed to register as foreign agents.

Judge Wood sentenced them to time already served - all were arrested in late June - and to leave the U.S. permanently, unless authorized to return by federal authorities. Prosecutors said they would be on Russia-bound flights within hours. Russia reportedly agreed that the ten will then be free to travel or move to any other country, except the United States.

Robert Baum, a lawyer for suspect Anna Chapman, noted that his client had been in the United States for about six months, running her own real estate business. He said she had not passed information to Russia that was secret or received any payment.

"The only allegations against her was that she communicated with a Russian official through a laptop to laptop communication, without the government specifying the nature of the communications," he said.

Baum said Chapman was kept in solitary confinement after her arrest and allowed no visitors or phone calls, and he said that was a factor in her guilty plea.

"I can tell you it was a difficult decision for her, one that included consideration of the conditions of her detention, which were extremely harsh," he said.

A lawyer for a Peruvian-born defendant, Vicki Pelaez, said that she never knew that her husband of many years, who went by the name Juan Lazaro, was actually a Russian named Mikhail Vasenkov. Attorney John Rodriquez said that Pelaez acted at her husband's request when she carried papers to Peru that contained messages written in invisible ink.

"Supposedly he explained to her that something was written on it and that she should give it to someone who may have been a Russian federation official," he said.

Pelaez, a columnist for a Spanish-language newspaper in New York, will receive $2,000 a month for life from Russia and is expected to move back to Peru. No monetary arrangement for any of the other defendants was disclosed.

In exchange for the 10, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has pardoned four prisoners convicted of spying for the United States.

U.S. Justice Department officials say the four to be deported from  Russia were jailed for alleged contacts with Western intelligence. They say three were convicted of treason and some of them are in poor health.  

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Burials

Country is improving at rapid response to remote, isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid