Russia arrests scientist for alleged collaboration with Chinese secret services

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has detained a scientist in Siberia on suspicion of state treason for allegedly collaborating with China’s security services, the state news agency TASS reported on Friday, citing regional authorities and the man’s family.

Dmitry Kolker, a doctor of physics and mathematics at Novosibirsk State University, whose website says he is head of a quantum optical technologies laboratory, was detained on charges of high treason, TASS quoted the Novosibirsk judicial department as saying.

Kolker and the Sovetsky regional court in Novosibirsk, one of Russia’s largest cities, situated around 2,800 km (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. A lawyer for Kolker could not be reached.

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.

TASS cited Kolker’s family as saying he was accused of collaborating with Chinese security services. Kolker has previously lectured at an international conference in China and had now been moved to a prison in Moscow, his son, Maxim said.

Kolker’s daughter said the scientist has been diagnosed with stage four cancer, TASS reported.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)