Salesman of leopard’s skin receives punishment
Let us recall that, with the personal support of Sergey Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, on the 2nd of July, 2013 the article 258.1 was appended to the Criminal Code of Russian Federation. This article has criminalised not only illegal take but also keep, purchase, storage, transport, transfer and sale of highly valuable wild animals and marine living resources protected by Russian Federation and/or by international agreements with Russian Federation, as well as their parts and products.
And now, a year after this amendment came into effect, a magistrate of judicial district No.11 of Pervomayskiy County of Vladivostok city brought in the first verdict of guilty. In attempt to avoid shouldering the responsibility, the accused insisted on his unfamiliarity with the fact that storage and sale of a Far-Eastern leopard skin was a criminal offense. Nevertheless the investigated evidence convincingly proved that the accused was guilty of illegal storage and sale of a red-listed animal. The fair penalty inflicted on him is 7 months of community service with 5% of his salary passed to the government budget.
The witness in the case learned from the media and from the posters placed in Khasan district (the leopard habitat area), that tiger and leopard hunt and trade are strictly forbidden. This is why when he saw the unfamiliar men inspecting a leopard skin, in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, he informed the police and helped to stop the crime.
“I hope that this precedent of pressing charges based on the 258.1 article will encourage those who are involved in illegal trade of valuable wildlife rethink their future”, - says Yuri Darman, Director of Amur branch of WWF. – “Prior to deciding to partake in a purchase, sale or storage of dangerous products, it worth to stop and think: the punishment on this article is a serious one, up to 7 years in prison”.