Court postpones Italian illegal adoption hearings

A Volgograd regional court on Friday postponed hearings into the illegal adoption of Russian children by 558 Italian citizens until December 16th. The trial judge Sergei Bauyarov took the decision because one of the defendants' lawyers was not in court.

The regional court announced that the trial, which has been dubbed the "Fratti case," will be opened for the press. The hearings are expected to feature the participation of the president of the Arcaobaleno association, Bruno Rizzatto, who is to explain what role Nadezhda Fratti, the main accused, played.

The Fratti case is being heard by the Volgograd regional court for the second time. Nadezhda Fratti has been charged under three articles: repeated falsification of documents, the falsification of documents for civil cases and giving bribes to officials. She was originally acquitted. The chief doctor at the Mikhail Children's Home in Volgograd, Antonina Tekucheva, the former director of the Kirov Children's Home, Tatyana Chaplina, and an ex-specialist for the regional education committee, Valentina Gerusova, also stood in the dock along with Fratti. They were accused of taking bribes from Fratti, as the investigation claimed, to assist the Italians in speeding up in the adoption process. The Volgograd regional court found that the case against them had not been proved.

The Supreme Court of Russia heard an appeal from the Volgograd prosecutor's office on September 11th 2002 and quashed the verdicts and sent the case back for re-examination by the Volgograd regional court with a new panel of judges.

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