A famous Russian scientist suffering from terminal cancer died two days after being taken from a hospital bed on charges of espionage, his family said on Sunday.
54-year-old Dmitry Kolkar died on Saturday in a Moscow hospital.
According to a message from the authorities published by his son Maxim Kolkar on the social network VKontakte, he was transferred from a prison in the capital to a hospital.
Two days earlier, a court in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk said Kolkar had been arrested and remanded in custody for two months.
The court said he was charged with “treason of the state” and “espionage” for a “foreign state”, a crime that could carry up to 20 years in prison.
His family says he was arrested by security service agents from the FSB at a clinic in Novosibirsk, where he was being treated for terminal cancer, then transferred to Moscow, despite his state of health.
“The FSB killed my father, they knew what condition he was in, but they took him out of the hospital,” Maxim Kolkar wrote on VKontakte on Sunday.
He said, “Thank you my country!!! His family was not even allowed to say goodbye to him.”
His cousin, Anton Dianov, told Reuters from the US that the allegations against Kolkar were “ridiculous”.
He said, “He was a scientist, he loved his country, he was working in his country, while there were many invitations from major universities and laboratories to work abroad. He wanted to work in Russia. , he wanted to teach the students there.” “These charges are absolutely ridiculous and extremely cruel and unusual to be leveled against such a sick person. They knew he was on his deathbed and they chose to arrest him.”
An expert in lasers, Kolkar led a laboratory on “quantum and optical technologies,” according to the Novosibirsk State University website. According to his son, he was suspected of spying after attending an international conference in China.
During this conference, he said, he had an FSB agent permanently with him to make sure he didn’t give away any sensitive information.
In Russia, scientists are regularly accused and convicted of espionage.
Dianov told Reuters that Kolker was also a highly skilled concert pianist and organist.
He said, “To me, the one who was creating so many beautiful things couldn’t do what they accused him of. And that’s how I’ll remember him forever.”