Russian man jailed for one year for orangutan smuggle attempt

DENPASAR, Indonesia (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - A Russian man was sentenced to one year imprisonment for trying to smuggle protected orangutan from Indonesia to his country.

The Denpasar District Court has sentenced a Russian man, Andrei Zhestkov, 27, to one year of imprisonment for a foiled attempt to smuggle an orangutan from Bali to his home country.

Zhestkov was also required to pay a fine of Rp 10 million (US$710), or serve an additional two months in prison if he does not.

"[The panel of judges] found the defendant Andrei Zhestkov legally and convincingly guilty of transporting a protected wild animal," presiding Judge Bambang Ekaputra announced, reading the verdict on Tuesday.

Zhestkov was found guilty of violating Article 40 of the 1990 Conservation Law. The sentence was heavier than the six months in jail sought by the Badung prosecutor.

Zhestkov burst into tears upon hearing the verdict, saying that he needs to think about whether he would appeal the verdict. The judges have given him seven days to decide.

He was arrested at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in March as he was 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 aviation security officers detected the 2-year-old orangutan, along with two geckos and four chameleons.

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