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MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case against an official in the Nizhny Novgorod region, where six children were murdered, spokesman for the Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin has told TASS.
"As part of the investigation, we intend to figure out all of the circumstances and reasons that led to such serious consequences. The investigators have initially faced a whole range of problems, which ultimately became the cause of the tragedy. The first thing the investigators found out was that, despite reports of the children living in life-threatening conditions, staff members of the administration of the Nizhny Novgorod district took no action for three years to file a lawsuit to court to deprive Belov of his parental rights," Markin said.
He noted that they had not raised the issue of isolating the children from their parents, especially since one of them was registered at a mental hospital. The Investigative Committee believes that, if that was done in time, the consequences would not have been so grave. "Considering all of these circumstances, a criminal case has been launched against the head of the department of education, social and legal protection of children of the administration of Nizhny Novgorod district Igor Kryuchkov under Article 293 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Negligence"), which entails up to 7 years in prison," Markin said.
He noted that in the course of the investigation other circumstances would emerge that led to the commission of the offence — the murder of the children and their mother. "At the moment, active work is underway to determine the role in the tragedy of the Seventh-day Adventist religious organization, whose member the defendant was. Searches are being held in the offices of this organization, and not only in the Nizhny Novgorod region," the Investigative Committee spokesman said.
Markin added that the Investigative Committee, in cooperation with the security services, did its utmost to disarm and arrest Belov as soon as possible. "But, unfortunately, we are now investigating the incident. We were surprised, to say the least, that following the tragedy we began to hear from the officials vested with the authority to protect children’s rights remarks on the need for keeping a close watch on the investigation rather than expressions of regret. I would like to ask a rhetorical question: what are they going to control? The way investigators or the law enforcement agencies work? It’s clear that this issue is outside their competence," Markin said.
"As for the Investigative Committee, I can guarantee that, together with the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry, we will bring the investigation to a conclusion and will do the best we can to ensure that whoever was involved in this tragedy one way or another will receive punishment," he added.