Sun, 05 Apr 2020

IRKUTSK, Russia -- A person who supplied a Siberian city with bath lotion that killed dozens of people who drank it in 2016 has been convicted and sent to prison.

The Lenin district court in the city of Irkutsk on February 27 found local resident Afig Abbasov guilty of premeditated sales of a group of products dangerous for public safety, and sentenced him to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Investigators say Abbasov and his associate brought to Irkutsk 2,000 plastic bottles with fake bath lotion that contained methanol -- which can be fatal if consumed -- instead of regular alcohol, or ethanol.

Poisonings with surrogate alcohol are frequent in Russia, where people sometimes drink substances that contain alcohol that are cheaper than alcoholic beverages.

In and around Irkutsk, a regional capital 4,200 kilometers east of Moscow, 78 people died in December 2016 after drinking a scented bath lotion called Boyaryshnik, Russian for Hawthorn.

The deaths led to restrictions on the sale of surrogate alcohol across Russia and tightening of control over production and sale of drinks, perfumes, and other liquids with more than 25 percent alcohol content as well as medicines containing ethanol.

Abbasov, who for some time managed to avoid arrest, is the last person sentenced in the high-profile case.

In general, 19 men and women, including Abbasov's associate, local officials, as well as owners and employees of several shops, were arrested right after the mass deaths. Some of them received lengthy prison terms, while some were fined.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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