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Posted on Nov 25, 08:35AM | IANS
Russian physicist Valentin Danilov, who was convicted in 2004 for passing data on satellite technology to China walked to freedom Saturday after eight years in prison, pledging he would continue studying science.
"Of course, I will be involved in science, just not related to outer space," said Danilov during a press conference after his release, adding "because everything space-related in our country is a state secret".
He was paroled earlier this month for the remainder of his 14-year prison sentence.
Danilov added that he had also prepared a proposal to improve the country's penitentiary system, based on his time in prison.
The criminal case against Danilov was originally brought in May 2000 by the regional division of the Federal Security Service in Krasnoyarsk. He was arrested in February 2001.
The physicist, who headed the Thermo-Physics Centre at Krasnoyarsk State Technical University, was suspected of treason, stemming from the transfer of classified information to China.
He was charged with embezzling 466,000 rubles (about USD 16,000) from the sum paid by China to his employers. Danilov denied the allegations.
The scientist consistently maintained that the information he was accused of selling had been available in scientific journals and had been declassified for over 10 years.
Though acquitted in late 2003, the Supreme Court declared the ruling illegal in June 2004, and he was convicted shortly after. He was then sentenced to 14 years in prison. Later, the sentence was reduced by one year.