From El Espectador they revealed that the embassy responded to the case: “The judicial defense of the sentenced citizen is not the responsibility of the Colombian government, such action corresponds exclusively to their legal representatives.” Family members expressed their annoyance.
The case of Elías Rojas, the 34-year-old surgeon who had traveled to Russia during 2019 has a new chapter; As will be remembered, the Colombian traveled to that country to specialize in Allergology, however he ended up in prison for a sleeping medication.
The situation for him and his family has been quite complex.
Something that has increased even more after the Rojas family expressed their discomfort at the responses they have received from the Foreign Ministry.
“No legal support has been received”
Recently, El Espectador published an article referring to the responses that the doctor’s family received.
- “It is important to specify that the consular actions carried out in relation to the arrest of fellow national Elías Mauricio Rojas Ardila have been carried out from February 19, 2021 to date,” the Colombian authorities responded.
- Adding that «the judicial defense of the sentenced citizen is not the responsibility of the Colombian government; such action corresponds exclusively to their legal representatives.
They also point out that information on the criminal proceedings has been requested from the Russian authorities and communication has been maintained with their legal representatives.,,
- They added that “in the same way, at the request of a relative of Mr. Rojas, the need to guarantee the right to due process has been insisted on, in particular, in relation to access to a translator during the procedural proceedings.”
Finally, they indicated that a visit to Mr. Rojas Ardila will be carried out in January 2023, once the detention center authorities authorize it.
For now, Elías has sent some messages indicating that he has received good treatment, “despite the fact that the Russian penal system is known for its rudeness.”
For this reason, his relatives ask that the government of President Petro establish a direct dialogue channel with the Russian authorities to negotiate his release.
The case has generated commotion
Since the case became known, his relatives indicated that the young man decided to travel to that country to advance his specialization in allergology and immunology.
However, last October he was arrested for possessing 26.1 grams of modafinil, a medicine prescribed to treat his hypersomnia, a sleep disorder.
He never imagined that carrying this medicine would sentence him to prison.
And it is that the facts occurred when the doctor went to pick up a package at the post office on Engels Avenue, near the Hospital.
#FreedomforElias Colombian, 34 years old, Med-Surgeon from the U. Nal de Colombia, deep social vocation. In 2019 he went to Saint Petersburg, Russia to start his studies in Allergology and Immunology. 🧵 with the full story. @petrogustavo @CancilleriaCol @FranceMarquezM pic.twitter.com/ybOgahkZmE
— Aaron Zea (@Aaroncol) December 16, 2022
There he was detained by agents of the Russian Anti-Drug Department because although Modafinil is freely available in many parts of the world, it is illegal for the Russian State because it contains what it calls “psychotropic substances.”
Rojas was brought before the Russian court accused of illicit trafficking of psychotropic substances on a large scale, intended for illegal acquisition and storage.
During the process it was revealed that the medicine classified by the Russian authorities as a “large quantity” only weighed 19.99 grams.
After what happened, his family indicated that due process was not respected, for which they asked the Colombian embassy in Russia to take charge of the situation, since up to now they have not received support.
After what happened, Rojas denied the charges indicated and maintained that at no time did he commit a crime since his purchase was backed by the medical prescription apostilled before the Foreign Ministry.
sentenced to prison
Faced with this fact, authorities in that country decided to sentence him to 4 years in prison.
Reason for which, his family spoke out and denounced a bad procedure in the case of the Colombian, as well as the lack of support from the Embassy.
- “So far no legal support of any kind has been received from the consular office in Russia.”
Those close to Rojas have indicated that a public defender and a private lawyer hired by the family have assumed the defense of Elías.
“A dream that became a nightmare”: Colombian doctor sentenced to prison for breaking a law in Russia