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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid