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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More