Russian laser scientist dies two days after arrest: ‘He loved his country’ – National

A Russian scientist who was arrested last week on suspicion of treason in Siberia and flown to Moscow despite suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer has died, lawyers and a family member said on Sunday.

Physicist Dmitry Kolker, 54, had been pulled from his hospital bed, where he was being tube-fed, and bundled onto a more than four-hour flight to Moscow, where lawyers said he was taken to Lefortovo prison and later there died a nearby hospital.

His cousin Anton Dianov told Reuters from the US that the accusation against the laser specialist that he had disclosed state secrets to China was absurd.

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“He was a scientist, he loved his country, he worked in his country despite many invitations from leading universities and laboratories to work abroad. He wanted to work in Russia, he wanted to teach students there,” he said.

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“These charges are absolutely ridiculous and utterly cruel and unusual when imposed on such a sick man. They knew he was on his deathbed and decided to arrest him.”

The family and lawyers said Kolker was arrested by FSB security and his home was searched. They said the charges of treason – which carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison – were based on lectures Kolker had given in China, although the content had been approved by the FSB.

Reuters received no response to an emailed request for comment from the FSB.


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Attorney Alexander Fedulov told Reuters he tried to contact authorities on Kolker’s behalf but was turned away by the FSB investigative department and the prison.

He said he will file a legal complaint Monday about the circumstances of Kolker’s detention.

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The state news agency TASS announced on Saturday that Russia had arrested a second scientist in Novosibirsk on suspicion of state treason. It was unclear whether there was a connection between the two cases.

A number of Russian scientists have been arrested and charged with treason in recent years for allegedly leaking sensitive material to foreigners. Kremlin critics say the arrests are often due to unfounded paranoia.

Dianov, the cousin, said Kolker was also a highly skilled concert pianist and organist, having performed both in Russia and in Europe.

“For me, someone who made such beautiful things could not have done what they are accused of. And that’s how I will always remember him,” he said, fighting back tears. “This is Dima for me and the rest of the family.”

(Reuters report, edited by Alexandra Hudson)

https://globalnews.ca/news/8964194/russian-laser-scientist-arrest-state-treason/ Russian laser scientist dies two days after arrest: ‘He loved his country’ – National

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