Russian court orders retrial of physicist jailed for treason

Russian physicist Valery Golubkin, accused of treason, attends a court hearing in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia's Supreme Court on Wednesday annulled a treason verdict against a physicist sentenced to 12 years in jail for passing secrets to an unidentified NATO member, and ordered a retrial, Russian media reported.

Valery Golubkin, a specialist in aerodynamics and heat exchange of aircraft, was arrested in 2021 and last year was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in a high-security prison for passing information about high-speed experimental flying vehicles to a foreign power.

Golubkin pleaded not guilty to treason.

Russia's TASS state news agency quoted the Supreme Court as saying it had considered a complaint by Golubkin's defence and decided to send the case for a new hearing. No other reason was given.

Golubkin had worked in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Aerohydromechanics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

According to his defence, on the orders of his boss, he passed reports to a researcher from the European Space Agency on the so-called HEXAFLY project, an international project aimed at developing a new high-speed civil transportation aircraft.

The boss of Golubkin's department, Anatoly Gubanov, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for treason last year.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Jonathan Oatis)