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Russian swapped for spies is in England, brother says

By the CNN Wire Staff
Picture taken on April 7, 2004 shows Russian weapons specialist Igor Sutyagin behind bars in Moscow.
Picture taken on April 7, 2004 shows Russian weapons specialist Igor Sutyagin behind bars in Moscow.
  • Scientist doesn't know exactly where he is, his brother tells CNN
  • He was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 who admitted they were Russian agents
  • The swap at a Vienna airport was reminiscent of scenes from the Cold War
  • Sutyagin was forced to confess, his mother says

Moscow, Russia (CNN) -- A Russian scientist who was part of a swap for 10 Russian spies caught in the United States is now in England, his brother told CNN Sunday.

Igor Sutyagin "is in a small town on the outskirts of London," but doesn't know exactly where, his brother Dmitry said.

"He thinks he needs to take stock and consider what's going on in Russia, (and) in England," said Dmitry Sutyagin, who lives just outside Moscow.

Sutyagin was convicted of espionage in Russia in 2004, according to Human Rights Watch, which said his trial and conviction were seriously flawed.

Washington denies that he was a spy.

Amnesty International warned Thursday that sending him abroad as part of the swap could amount to forcible exile, a violation of international law.

His mother told Amnesty he had been forced to confess to spying in order to be freed from prison in a remote arctic region of Russia.

Sutyagin is one of four people handed over on Friday in exchange for the 10 people who confessed in the United States to spying for Russia.

Video: U.S. and Russia spy swap complete
Video: Suspected spy swap begins
Video: Russian spies expelled from U.S.
  • United Kingdom
  • Russia
  • Crime

The United States and Russia completed the swap Friday, exchanging them on chartered planes at an airport in Vienna, Austria, a U.S. official and Russian media said.

The elaborately choreographed transfer -- which took place while the planes sat on the ground for about an hour -- was reminiscent of a scene from the Cold War.

Attorney General Eric Holder said none of the 10 had passed classified information and therefore none had been charged with espionage.

Under the plea agreements, the defendants disclosed their true identities in court, admitted to being agents for Russia, and forfeited assets attributable to the criminal offenses, the Justice Department said in a news release.

"Richard Murphy" and "Cynthia Murphy" admitted they are Russian citizens named Vladimir Guryev and Lydia Guryev, the Justice Department said.

"Michael Zottoli" and "Patrica Mills" admitted they are Russian citizens named Mikhail Kutsik and Natalia Pereverzeva.

"Donald Howard Heathfield" and "Tracey Lee Ann Foley" admitted they are Russian citizens named Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, and "Juan Lazaro" admitted that he is a Russian citizen named Mikhail Anatonoljevich Vasenkov.

Vicky Pelaez, Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko operated in the United States under their true names, and Chapman and Semenko admitted they are Russian citizens, the Justice Department said.

Authorities have lost track of an 11th suspect, who was detained in Cyprus, released on bail, and then failed to check in with authorities as he had promised to do.

In Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree Friday pardoning four Russians imprisoned for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies, the Kremlin press service said, according to state-run RIA Novosti.

"Three of the Russian prisoners were convicted of treason in the form of espionage on behalf of a foreign power and are serving lengthy prison terms," the Justice Department said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, who handled the case in the United States.

"The Russian prisoners have all served a number of years in prison and some are in poor health. The Russian government has agreed to release the Russian prisoners and their family members for resettlement."

The individuals pardoned by Russia are Alexander Zaporozhsky, Gennady Vasilenko, Sergei Skripal, and Sutyagin.

All four appealed to the Russian president to free them after admitting their crimes against the Russian state, press secretary Natalia Timakova said.

But in Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner denied Thursday that Sutyagin had been a spy.

CNN's Arkady Irshenko, Richard Allen Greene and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.