Russian scientist dies two days after arrest for state treason, lawyer says

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) – A Russian scientist who was arrested last week in Siberia on suspicion of state treason and flown to Moscow while suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer has died, a his lawyer told Reuters on Sunday.

The scientist, Dmitry Kolker, had been taken to Lefortovo prison in Moscow, lawyer Alexander Fedulov said.

“He died yesterday. Tomorrow we will file a complaint for his detention,” he said.

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Kolker’s family said last week that he was taken from a hospital in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, where he was being fed through a tube, and put on a flight to Moscow by security service officers of the FSB.

Kolker was a doctor in physics and mathematics. The family said he had been accused of collaborating with the security services in China, where he had previously given scientific lectures. They protested his innocence.

On Saturday, state news agency TASS said Russia had arrested a second scientist in Novosibirsk on suspicion of state treason. It was unclear if the two cases were related. Read more

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

State treason is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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Reuters reporting

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