Italians' Adoption in Limbo
Investigators were still deliberating Wednesday whether to bring charges against an Italian couple accused of abusing their newly adopted son, while a similar case against an American couple was dropped, law enforcement officials and a lawyer for the Italian couple said.
Detectives questioned the Italian couple last week about a June 3 incident on a flight from Barnaul to Moscow when a flight attendant accused them of abusing their 7-year-old son, their lawyer Sergei Kadyrov said.
Police let the couple go without informing them whether they would continue their preliminary inquiry or initiate a full-fledged investigation that could entail criminal charges, Kadyrov said.
International adoptions have recently come under fire in Russia, amid calls by some senior officials to sharply restrict them following the death of an adopted boy in the United States.
A Sheremetyevo Airport police spokeswoman, Tatyana Bondareva, said last week that prosecutors would have to decide whether to press charges by June 13, but city transport prosecutors said Wednesday that no charges had yet been brought.
"At the moment investigations are still going on, but no decisions have been made so far," Larisa Shmarko, a spokeswoman for the transport prosecutor's office, said Wednesday.
The Italians, who are both lawyers, were allowed to visit with their son at a city orphanage after doctors completed a checkup, Shmarko and Kadyrov said.
Another Italian couple, Luigi Maggiore and his wife, were traveling on the same plane from Barnaul after having themselves adopted a baby girl. "We hope Russian authorities understand that it was just a misunderstanding," Maggiore said, speaking from Italy.
In a separate incident, Moscow prosecutors dropped a case against an American couple that had their newly adopted child taken away from them at the Ukraina Hotel on June 1.
No grounds were found for prosecution, and their son was returned to them, said Alexander Pronin, an assistant prosecutor for Moscow's Dorogomilovo District, by telephone Wednesday.