Thursday, June 28, 2007

Van Roosmalen sentenced to 14 years in jail

Earlier this month I did a post on Marc van Roosmalen, a zoologist that has discovered an unbelievable number of new vertebrates during his career. I came across this news story today and was shocked, apparently he's been sentenced to 14 years in jail for "theft and biopiracy", as a result of failing to apply for permission to create a monkey refuge at his home. The linked article speculates that this happened because his efforts toward promoting conservation have made him a nuisance to Brazilian authorities.

According to the Primatology.net blog, if an application like this is not rejected within 45 days it is generally assumed to have been accepted, which is what van Roosmalen apparently did without realizing it had been rejected...although he has been accused of never filing it in the first place. I think it sounds like a very suspicious situation, pretty convenient for the officials to lose the document and then have a reason to arrest the scientist. He is appealing the decision, hopefully it will be overturned, he is 60 years old and a 14 year sentence would end his career and all of the conservation efforts he is making.

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