Russia Sentences Lithuanian Man to 12 Years in Jail for Espionage

A vessel sails near the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, with the Kremlin seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2016. Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Russia has sentenced a Lithuanian man to 12 years in prison for spying, Baltic news agency BNS has reported.

Aristidas Tamosaitis, who was detained in Moscow by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in May 2015, was sentenced in a trial behind closed doors last month. Details about his status were not made public until Tuesday, when Lithuania’s ambassador to Russia, Remigijus Motuzas, told journalists Tamosaitis had been found guilty.

Motuzas gave no further details about the case, explaining they were classified, but added that a member of the Lithuanian embassy was present at the hearings. Only Tamosaitis’s name, residence and sentence were deemed unclassified information.

Tamosaitis’s lawyer is planning an appeal, according to Motuzas; however, he did not say when the appeal would begin.

Tamosaitis was arrested only three weeks after Lithuania detained an alleged Russian FSB agent suspected of spying on Lithuania. The Baltic state has arrested at least four individuals suspected of spying for Russia or its ally Belarus.

In 2015, the former head of Czech intelligence warned that Russia is trying to rekindle intelligence communities in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to spy on NATO and the EU.