Russians to question writer for Sun Stories on weapons apparently at issue

April 03, 1993|By Moscow Bureau

MOSCOW -- Officials of the Russian Ministry of Security -- one of the successors to the Soviet secret police agency known as the KGB -- have summoned Will Englund, The Sun's Moscow correspondent, to appear for questioning, apparently in connection with stories Mr. Englund has written about Russia's chemical weapons program.

Since last fall, Mr. Englund has written several articles about the program, based on interviews with scientists and officials involved in it. The contention of many sources in these articles was that while the former Soviet Union and later Russia were publicly supportive of treaties to eliminate chemical weapons, newer and more lethal weapons were still being developed.

In September, Mr. Englund interviewed a chemist, Vil Mirzayanov, who was later charged with revealing state secrets regarding chemical weapons.

Mr. Mirzayanov was arrested in late October and held for 10 days before being released. The investigation of his case is continuing. Neither Mr. Mirzayanov nor his lawyer has been allowed to see the section of the law under which the chemist is being charged.

Viktor A. Shkarin, the investigator handling the Mirzayanov case, called Mr. Englund by telephone at home this week and told him to appear Monday at the Security Ministry headquarters at Lefortovo Prison. Mr. Shkarin declined to tell Mr. Englund what sort of questions he wanted to ask him. He said the reporter would be asked for a "witnessing statement" and that the session would take about an hour. He said he would allow Mr. Englund to bring his lawyer to the interview.

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