There's a bizarre case in Russia involving chemist Olga Zelenina:
Zelenina heads a laboratory at the Penza Agricultural Institute, some 600 kilometres southeast of Moscow, one of the best-equipped chemical-analysis labs in Russia. She is a specialist in the biology of hemp and poppy, and is a sought-after expert in legal cases involving narcotics produced from these plants.
In September 2011, the defence attorneys of Sergey Shilov, a Russian businessman under investigation by the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS), asked her to provide an expert opinion on the amount of opiates that could possibly be extracted from 42 metric tonnes of food poppy seeds that Shilov had imported from Spain in 2010. . .
. . .On the basis of gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry measurements of samples analysed in her lab, Zelenina calculated the overall morphine and codeine content in the poppy-seed consignment in question to be 0.00069% and 0.00049%, respectively. In such low concentrations, opiates can only be identified or extracted in well-equipped analytical chemistry labs, she wrote.
“This opinion apparently failed to satisfy the prosecutors,” says Irina Levontina, a linguist at the Russian Language Institute in Moscow, who is frequently heard as an expert in libel and drug lawsuits. “It has become quite common for Russian prosecutors to accuse independent experts if they don’t like their opinions. It can be downright dangerous for experts to appear in court.”
Apparently so. She was arrested in August, for allegedly assisting drug trafficking, and ordered held until October 15, awaiting a still-unspecified trial date. C&E News reports that scientists in Moscow and elsewhere are signing petitions for her release and showing support for her in court hearings. But if the Russian government doesn't like you, what can avail? Perhaps bad publicity can help?
Update:Zelenina has been released from custody, pending her trial. It's a start, but she's still facing all sorts of penalties if convicted.