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Prosecutor, relatives of Nerpa sub victims to appeal acquittal

October 14, 2011, 12:25 UTC+3
The court martial denied to indemnify the moral damage and to pay monetary compensations to the relatives of the victims in the Nerpa incident
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VLADIVOSTOK, October 14 (Itar-Tass) — The prosecutor’s office and relatives of naval sailors, who died in the Nerpa nuclear submarine incident, will appeal the acquittal verdict.

On Friday, under the jury verdict the Pacific Court Martial acquitted the Nerpa submarine commander Dmitry Lavrentyev and a petty officer of the submarine Dmitry Grobov. On September 30, the jury concluded that the investigators failed to prove the fact of the fire alarm system activation that entailed victims as a result of ‘the human factor’.

The court martial denied to indemnify the moral damage and to pay monetary compensations to the relatives of the victims in the Nerpa incident. Representatives of the injured parties and the prosecutor’s office remained dissatisfied with the court ruling.

Prosecutor of the military prosecutor’s office Sergei Kolomiyets told reporters after the trial that the supervisory agency intends to appeal the acquittal verdict in higher instances.

The relatives of the Nerpa victims also intend to appeal the Friday verdict. “There was enough evidence that the human factor caused the tragedy. I will ask for appeal,” said Tamara Filich, a widow of the Nerpa chief mechanic of the submarine commissioning team Viktor Filich.

On November 8, 2008, the automatic fire alarm system was activated unexpectedly onboard the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa, which was not put into service of the Russian Navy, during a sea trial in the Sea of Japan (the East Sea). Some 20 people died and another 38 people got poisoned of freon and tetrachloroethylene.

Some 208 people were staying onboard the submarine. Some 17 civilians (members of the submarine commissioning team from the shipyard) and three servicemen died in the incident.

Two people were the defendants in the criminal case. The Nerpa commander Dmitry Lavrentyev was accused of office abuse that entailed the death of two and more people through negligence. The detectives affirmed that the commander failed to train the crew how to handle new equipment and which actions to take in emergency situations before the sea trial.

The second defendant – a petty officer Dmitry Grobov – was named as the immediate culprit in the submarine incident. The detectives believe that it was he who being on duty pushed the bottoms and activated the fire alarm system. He is charged under two articles of the Criminal Code for causing death through negligence to two and more people as a result of the improper performance of his professional duties and causing a heavy health damage through negligence as a result of the improper performance of his professional duties.

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