Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms expert who was part of a spy swap with the U.S. earlier this month, said he’ll return home from the U.K., and called for continued support of scientists still jailed in Russia for espionage.
“I’m collecting myself, building up my strength, and I very much want to see my wife, daughters, parents and brother,” said Sutyagin, convicted in 2004 of spying for the U.S. and U.K. Sutyagin, who spent 11 years behind bars, said he’s not sure when he’ll return home, “but it will definitely happen.”
Sutyagin thanked his supporters for winning his freedom and urged them to continue pushing for the release of others who remain incarcerated in Russia on similar charges. “Don’t forget them, please,” he said in a statement on his website today. Igor Sutyagin’s brother, Dmitry, confirmed the authenticity of the statement by telephone.
Four men convicted of espionage in Russia, including Sutyagin, were exchanged on July 9 for 10 alleged members of a Russian spy ring in the U.S. who pled guilty in New York to the lesser charge of conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents.
Sutyagin has consistently maintained his innocence, though as part of the swap deal he admitted his guilt and was subsequently pardoned by President Dmitry Medvedev. His lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, said the admission was made under duress.