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Moscow indignant at US court sentence on Cravers’ presumed murder of Russian boy

November 20, 2011, 23:16 UTC+3

The Cravers who tortured to death the seven-year-old boy were released after having spent only 18 months under arrest

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MOSCOW, November 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Foreign Ministry is indignant at and profoundly concerned about the York City Court sentence on the Cravers suspected of the death of Vanya Skorobogatov they adopted in Russia, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a comment posted on the ministry website.

“The Cravers who tortured to death the seven-year-old boy were released after having spent only 18 months under arrest. The court sentence is amazingly and flagrantly irresponsible,” he said.

“The attorney insisted on the capital punishment. He said that Vanya’s death was the fault of his adoptive parents. They brutalized the child, brought him to exhaustion and inflicted a heavy head injury on him that proved to be fatal,” Lukashevish said.

“Much more severe sentences are passed on Russian citizens who stand trial in the U.S. on the suspicion of criminal intents. This fact does not create assuredness that U.S. court hearings of other humanitarian cases will be unbiased. That does not help the development of the bilateral human rights dialog,” he said.

“Hopefully, the entry into force of the bilateral agreement on cooperation in inter-country adoptions, which is ready for ratification, will drastically change the position of Russian children adopted by U.S. families and make such outrageous situations impossible,” Lukashevich said.

Michael Craver, 46 and his wife Nanette, 54, were put to a Pennsylvania prison on the charges of first degree murder and child abuse. The defense claimed that Vanya Skorobogatov was suffering from a mental disorder, which caused frequent outbreaks of destructiveness and self-mutilation. The defense said that the disease was diagnosed and Vanya was receiving therapy. They explained numerous bruises on Vanya's body with the ailment.

The Cravers adopted Vanya and his twin sister Dasha from a Chelyabinsk orphanage in 2003. The seven-year-old boy called Nathaniel by the adoptive parents died at a Pennsylvania hospital in August 2009. He had nearly 80 external injuries, including 20 to his head. Detectives said that the death resulted from beating and hunger. Dasha is staying with relatives of the adoptive parents. The authorities permitted correspondence between the Cravers and Dasha but all the letters had to be checked by social workers.

The court found the Cravers guilty of conspiracy and actions, which endangered the child’s security, but the jury said they were not guilty of premeditated murder. The judge sentenced the Cravers on Friday to 16 months in prison but they were released upon the end of the trial, as they had already spent over 18 months in custody.

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