Russia Seeks Own Justice for Adopted Boy Who Died in US

Posted November 19th, 2011 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian investigators are seeking tougher punishment for a U.S. couple convicted in the death of a 7-year-old boy they adopted from Russia.

A court in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania sentenced Michael and Nanette Craver Friday to the 19 months they have already spent in prison.

Russia's foreign ministry criticized the verdict as irresponsible Saturday, while the nation's federal investigative committee said it would seek an international arrest warrant for the couple and work to prove the killing was intentional.

The Cravers were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the U.S. after their adopted son died of a brain injury in a hospital in 2009.

Prosecutors accused the couple of beating and abusing the child, with doctors saying his body was covered with bruises and cuts. But the Cravers have argued that the boy had fetal alcohol syndrome and other problems that caused him to injure himself. They said he smashed his own head into a stove.

Russian authorities have watched the case closely. It comes after Moscow and the United States signed a treaty in July regulating adoptions of Russian children by American families.

Under the treaty, U.S. couples must undergo psychological exams by Russian authorities, who also have the right to monitor Russian children in their new families.

Russian officials had threatened to suspend U.S. adoptions after reports of child abuse by their American families. In one case that made headlines last year, a woman in Tennessee put her adopted Russian son on a plane back to Moscow alone, saying she could no longer cope with his violent behavior.