Prague - Czech entomologists together with their foreign counterparts plan to stage a protest against imprisoning Emil Kučera, lay entomologist who was sentenced to three years in jail by Indian court, informed Vladislav Malý from Czech Entomologists' Society.
Emil Kučera together with Petr Švácha, world renown entomologist, were arrested in June for an unauthorized insect collection for commercial purposes and both sentenced to three years in prison. While Švácha was later acquitted, Kučera has remained convicted.
The entomologists are expected to rally in front of India´s embassies in Prague, Vienna and Ottawa on September 18 to put pressure on the Indian auhtorities to acquit also Kučera.
Švácha: Few reasons to smile
Both men dismissed the accusation arguing that the insects they had collected were strictly for non-commercial purposes.
"I think that as a professional scientist, I represent a bigger problem for the Indian authorities, so they decided to release me but keep Emil. The court hopes that by releasing me, protests around the world would lose their intensity," Švácha explained in an e-mail.
Švácha himself is not out of trouble completely, though. In the meantime, his visa has expired and he could face re-arresting by the Indian authorities, says Hynek Kmoníček, Czech ambassador to India.
That´s why Švácha remains under the surveillance of the Czech embassy. "All in all, I am still a 'vulnerable object' who might be accused again or bullied in any other way," Švácha said. All costs related to their involuntarily prolonged stay in India, including paying a lawyer, are paid by the pair themselves.
Support from the highest places
The international entomologists' community has been backing Švácha and Kučera from the very beginning. They drafted a number of petitions calling for release of the scientists. Among the petitioners was also the Council of International Congress of Entomology, which is the most important body of professional entomologists.
Over 800 scientists petitioned India's Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the West Bengal Chief Minister.
President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Václav Pačes, Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Czech PM Mirek Topolánek appealed to the Indian authorities as well.
The ministry's spokesperson Zuzana Opletalová assured that the bureau would do their best to get Kučera back to the Czech Republic.
Švácha also praised the efforts made by the Czech ambassador Kmoníček who was alleged to get engaged in the case "above his professional duties."
Švácha believes that the case is already strongly politicized, resembling a spy-thriller full of shadow agreements and pressures.