Dmitry Kolker seen asking President Vladimir Putin a question during a December 2001 direct line.Vladimir Zinin/TASS

Updated at 5:30 a.m. on July 4 to include news of Dmitry Kolker’s death.

A Siberian spectral imagery scientist battling late-stage cancer was arrested in hospital and brought to Moscow on accusations of treason, the news website reported Thursday.

He died in custody two days later.

Dmitry Kolker, Ph.D., headed the Novosibirsk State University’s quantum optical technologies laboratory, which partners with Germany’s Max Born Institute and France’s National Institute of Metrology.

“They took a sick man, who was practically dying and feeding through a tube in his vein, from a private hospital,” his son Maxim Kolker told

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