Russian ex-KGB officer, Putin critic leaves jail

A former Russian security service officer who said the Kremlin was behind the murder of fellow ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko was released from a prison in the Urals on Friday.Mikhail Trepashkin, a former officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB), was convicted of revealing state secrets in 2004 after accusing his former employers of being involved in deadly bombings before the 1999 parliamentary elections.

“On 30 November, Trepashkin was released from prison,” a representative from the local prisons service said.

His treatment drew widespread criticism from international rights groups, which said he had been put in prison in revenge for speaking out against the FSB.

The authorities did not make public the charges against him, but Russian media said he was accused of working with Litvinenko to give British intelligence information to discredit the FSB.

Colonel Trepashkin, born in 1957, had said in letters from jail that he had information about the murder of Litvinenko, a former intelligence officer and Kremlin critic living in Britain who died of radiation poisoning in London just over a year ago.

Russia barred British detectives last year from interviewing Trepashkin when they visited Russia to investigate the murder of Litvinenko.

British prosecutors later said Andrei Lugovoy, another ex-KGB security service officer, was wanted on suspicion of killing Litvinenko but Russia says its constitution bars it from extraditing him to Britain to stand trial.

Lugovoy says he is innocent.

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