MOSCOW, August 6 (RAPSI) - Member of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Standing Commission on International Cooperation in Human Rights Alexander Brod is going to send an application to a Sri Lankan envoy in defense of the rights of Russians arrested on the island on the insect collection allegations.

Earlier, the island’s polie arrested zoologist Alexander Ignatenko and his two friends Artem Ryabov and Nikola Kilafyan for collection of bugs and reptiles. Authorities brought 277 flora and fauna collection ban violation charges against them. They could face up to 40 years behind bars if convicted.

Russian citizens insist they did not catch insects but only collected the dead ones to study them.

Brod is going to monitor the case and involve certain specialists in it.

A court in Sri Lankan town Nuwara Eliya has already began hearing the case against Russian nationals. The next hearing is set for August 27.