American parents do not face dead penalty

Sep 7, 2011 16:48 Moscow Time

The York County Court, Pennsylvania, has opened court proceedings on the case of Michael and Nanette Craver. They are accused of killing their adopted son from Russia Vanya Skorobogatov who was adopted by them in 2003. His death was caused by brain injury on August 24th, 2009.

The so-called adopted parents say that Vanya fell and struck his head against the fire-place. Only the day after was he taken to the hospital and connected with the artificial breathing apparatus. However, an attempt to save him proved a failure. In the course of medical examination it became clear that the boy received more than 80 injuries, including 20 injuries to his head. A witness, Doctor Christopher Penney, told the court that his right ear drum was broken and that his body was covered with injuries. This fact was confirmed by other witnesses, including policemen and doctors, which means that the boy had been systematically subjected to tortures. Besides, the doctors said that he was extremely.

And still, Cravers’ attorneys insist that the damage to his body was done by Vanya himself. The attorneys refer to a number of statements, made by the defendants to the effect that the child was inclined to maiming. Russia’s Consul in New York Alexander Otchainov, who was present at the trial, questions the validity of these statements.  The more so that according to the Russian diplomat, they are  rejected by all those who saw the boy, when he was brought to the hospital.

At the very beginning of the investigation the prosecutors believed that the Cravers should be sentenced to death. Now they say that the American adopted parents should be sentenced to 20 years in prison. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Ombudsman for Children’s Rights under the Russian President Pavel Astakhov said:

“The prosecutors plan to soften the accusation and to hand down a light punishment for killing a child. Of course, long-term imprisonment is also a serious punishment but if the Cravers killed a policeman, a taxi-driver, a doctor, or simply a passer-by on the street, they would have been undoubtedly sentenced to death.”

Pavel Astakhov stressed that the current trial is being carried out under the conditions when a new adoption agreement between Russia and the USA that was signed this July had not come into force yet. Otherwise, Russia would have been able to be present at the trial as a full-value participant, not simply an observer. The previously mentioned agreement will create an absolutely new legal situation, Pavel Astakhov said:

“Trials similar to that of Vanya’s adoptive parents have recently become frequent in the USA. And as a rule, verdicts leave much to be desired. The Russian Ombudsman says that it would be wrong to ban the adoption of Russian children by foreigners. However, only countries having a relevant agreement with Russia should be allowed to adopt Russian children. For the time being, only the USA and Italy have signed such documents. It is necessary to create a situation in the future when adoption privileges will be given to Russian citizens,” Pavel Astakhov said.