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Jakarta Post

Russian faces maximum five-year sentence for attempting to smuggle orangutan

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Wed, June 12, 2019   /   06:29 pm
Russian faces maximum five-year sentenceĀ for attempting to smuggle orangutan Andrei Zhestkov, 27, during his first hearing at the Denpasar District Court in Bali on Wednesday. He was accused of trying to smuggle an orangutan and several geckos and chameleons from Indonesia to Russia in March. (JP/Ni Komang Erviani)

Denpasar prosecutors charged a Russian man on Wednesday for attempting to smuggle an orangutan to his home country under articles of the 1990 Conservation Law that carry a maximum of five years’ imprisonment upon conviction. 

Andrei Zhestkov, 27, was arrested at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in March as he was allegedly carrying a drugged orangutan in his luggage. Police say Zhestkov had been planning to take a flight back to Russia via Seoul, South Korea, when airport aviation security officers detected the 2-year-old orangutan, along with two geckos and four chameleons. 

The security officers reported the finding to airport police, the quarantine office and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency.

In the indictment, prosecutors accused Zhestkov of attempting to export protected animals from Indonesia.

“The defendant had intentionally violated the law by storing, possessing and transporting protected animals,” prosecutor AA Made Suara Teja Buana told the Denpasar District Court.

Police say Zhestkov was also carrying some medicine he allegedly intended to give to the orangutan during the layover in Seoul.

According to police, Zhestkov claimed the orangutan was not his. He said it was owned by his Russian friend, who was still on the police wanted list, identified only as Igor. Zhestkov said that Igor was the one who told him to bring the orangutan to Russia. “The defendant said that Igor had taught him how to bring the orangutan into Russia,” prosecutor said.

The next trial session is scheduled for next week.