A Russian scientist, charged with selling space secrets to China, accused the FSB domestic security police on Monday of using psychological torture to coerce a confession.
Valentin Danilov told the Kommersant daily newspaper that the FSB, the main successor of the Soviet-era KGB, deliberately extended its investigation to compromise his health.
Danilov, head of the Thermo-Physics Centre of Krasnoyarsk Technical University in Siberia, was arrested on February 16 and charged with attempting to sell China research on how space affects satellites. He denies any wrongdoing and says his area of study was declassified in 1992.
"Most of all what concerns me is the loutish behaviour by the FSB investigating group towards me", Danilov told the paper. He said investigators had "devised a new torture," deliberately transporting him for questioning on hot days in a packed, stuffy prison coach, despite his poor health. "Basically, I'm on the verge of a heart attack. The FSB has exceeded the Taiwanese torture show in the film 'Emergency'", he said, refering to a popular Soviet propaganda film in which a ship's crew suffered extreme forms of psychological torture.
The FSB was "counting on the case being closed due to an irreversible deterioration in my health either a heart attack or stroke", said Danilov. He reported his weight had fallen to 55 kilograms (121 pounds) since his incarceration.
"I have studied science for 30 years, probably contributed something useful to my country, and I have been rewarded with accusations of treason," the 53-year-old scientist said.
Danilov disclosed that investigators brought additional charges, of swindling, against him because his detention order was due to expire.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan commented during a visit to Moscow in April that he was not familiar with the case, but did not expect it to harm blossoming ties between the two states.
Danilov is one of numerous researchers who have fallen foul of the FSB in the past year. These scientists have faced prosecution or warnings from the security body.
Igor Sutyagin, an arms expert from Moscow's respected USA-Canada Institute, is on trial for suspicion of passing secrets to Western intelligence. He denies any wrongdoing.
Two naval officers have fought lengthy court battles after exposing the secret dumping of environmental hazards by the Russian navy. One of the officers, Grigory Pasko, faces a retrial.
Last month Sergei Kovalyov, a senior parliamentarian and veteran human rights activist, said the Russian Academy of Sciences instructed its members to report all dealings with foreigners. Kovalyov considered this a return to Soviet-style controls, but the government denied such an order existed.