Russian scientist hospitalized, who is being tried by Sri Lanka for collecting beetles

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Moscow. April 28. INTERFAX.RU – Scientist Alexander Ignatenko, who is on trial in Sri Lanka for illegal collection of beetles and smuggling, was hospitalized due to an aggravated stomach ulcer, Vice President of the Russian division of the International Committee for the Defense of Human Rights Ivan Melnikov told Interfax on Wednesday.

“Ignatenko was taken to the hospital. He has an aggravated stomach ulcer, which he received in a Sri Lankan prison. His condition is assessed as average. Unfortunately, there is a risk that he will soon have to be discharged from the hospital without receiving the necessary help due to lack of money for treatment. “, – said Melnikov.

He noted that Ignatenko and other Russians involved in the case of illegal collection of beetles in Sri Lanka continue to experience financial difficulties, and their families cannot provide them with the necessary funds.

“As for the trials, at the next of which the second witness in the case should be interrogated, they are not going to be postponed yet, although Ignatenko should be present at them,” Melnikov added.

Earlier, Ignatenko's mother applied to the Russian Peace Fund for financial assistance to cover the debts of her son and other Russians in Sri Lanka. This requires more than 500 thousand rubles.

Ignatenko, a zoologist from Rostov-on-Don, who was found to have several dead beetles, ended up in a Sri Lankan prison for allegedly violating the country's ban on the collection of flora and fauna. He and two of his companions – Artem Ryabov and Nikolay Kilafyan – were detained in February 2020. In May, they were released on bail, and then the trial began over them.

All three are accused of killing 277 beetles. Ignatenko claims that he was not engaged in catching and killing insects, but picked up dead individuals along the road, photographed and described them.

Experts of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, at the request of lawyers, conducted an examination for belonging to the endangered species of insects and reptiles of Sri Lanka, the Russians are accused of collecting. According to the conclusion, only one species of butterflies and five species of reptiles are recognized as rare and in need of protection.

According to Ignatenko, if he is found guilty, he will have to pay a fine of 3 million rubles in equivalent, or he will face up to 40 years in prison.

In October 2020, the case was sent for further investigation.

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