Russian scientist dies two days after arrest for state treason

Russian scientist Dmitry Kolker was suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.

THE SOLOVETSKY Monastery in northern Russia is known as the ‘mother of the Gulag,’ having been converted into a Soviet prison and labor camp and used as a model for other such camps during the Stalin era (photo credit: CONOR SWEENEY/REUTERS)
THE SOLOVETSKY Monastery in northern Russia is known as the ‘mother of the Gulag,’ having been converted into a Soviet prison and labor camp and used as a model for other such camps during the Stalin era
(photo credit: CONOR SWEENEY/REUTERS)

A Russian scientist who was arrested in Siberia last week on suspicion of state treason and flown to Moscow despite suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer has died, his lawyer told Reuters on Sunday.

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

"He died yesterday. Tomorrow we will lodge a complaint over his detention,"

Lawyer Alexander Fedulov 

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

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

 Dividing cancer cell (credit: INGIMAGE) Dividing cancer cell (credit: INGIMAGE)

Previous arrests

On Saturday, state news agency TASS said Russia had detained a second scientist in Novosibirsk on suspicion of state treason. It was not clear if the two cases were connected. 

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

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