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Swedish court deals with suspicious death of adopted Czech boy


STOCKHOLM, Feb 28 (CTK) - The Swedish court in Joenkoeping started on Monday to deal with the case of a three-year-old Czech boy, who was recently adopted by a Swedish couple and died under suspicious circumstances on January 8.

The boy, who earlier lived in a children's home in Brno, south Moravia, was found dead with multiple injuries. His Swedish adoptive parents allegedly left him without medical care.

The Swedish tabloid Expressen, reporting on the case, wrote that the boy's biological mother was forced to agree with the child's adoption.

The Swedish adoptive parents, aged between 30 ands 40, are accused of wilful neglect causing death and they have been in custody since the beginning of February. They are, however, not suspected of having killed the child intentionally, according to the charges.

"It is apparent that the child must have suffered from severe pain," state attorney Stefan Edwardson told the Swedish news agency TT.

He added that first aid provided in time could have saved the boy's life, according to doctors' expert opinion.

Erik Sterner, defence counsel of the accused father, said that the adoptive parents did not consider the situation as serious. They deny the charges.

"They have lost control of the situation. They were not able to handle the child at all," Edwardson said.

Other sources say that the adoptive father allegedly beat up the boy, which is qualified as a crime in Swewen.

However, Edwardson pointed out that there is no direct evidence proving that the boy's injuries were directly caused by his adoptive parents.

The boy's health condition was good when he arrived in Sweden from the Czech Republic. The Swedish social authorities checking the family last autumn did not find any troubles.

Expressen wrote that the couple, who have one own daughter, borrowed some 30,000 Swedish crowns to be able to adopt the boy who left the Czech Republic with them last summer.

Expressen added that the adoptive parents first bought toys for the boy, took him to the zoo and the amusement park and they spent holiday with him at the seaside in Turkey.

But their friends and acquaintances testified later that the adoptive parents gradually started to speak about the boy indifferently, without emotions.

"This is an immense tragedy and we will naturally re-examine all our steps," the head of the respective municipal office, who requested anonymity, told TT.

"There are very strict rules for adoptions. Both we and the children's home where the boy lived are shocked by the case. We are trying to explain to the authorities in the country of origin that this is an absolutely exceptional matter," said Eva Johansson-Melin from the organisation that mediated the adoption form the Czech Republic.

The Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today that this case can threaten the programme of international adoption of Czech children in institutional care who cannot find foster families in the Czech Republic.

Eva Pilatova, head of the children's home in Brno where the little boy came from, told the paper that the case shocked her as the adoptive parents had made a very positive impression on her.

She added that in case of any problems, the Swedish couple could have returned the boy during the several-month probationary period.

Pilatova also said she fears that the case can discredit the programme of international adoption, which had already helped several Czech children find a new home abroad.

2006 Feb 28