The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the acquittal of four doctors charged with preparing to kill a critically ill patient to obtain organs for transplant.
Court spokesman Pavel Odintsov said the court agreed with prosecutors who said the Moscow City Court acquittal was "unlawful and unfounded." He said the city court would hold a new trial with new judges.
The charges stemmed from the death of a 51-year-old man who was brought to a Moscow hospital in April 2003 with a severe head injury. Police later found him lying outside the intensive care ward with doctors having prepared for the removal of his kidneys, even though he still had a heartbeat and a pulse, according to Russian news reports.
Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence two of the doctors - transplant specialists from the city's organ donation center - to nine years in prison. Also charged were a deputy head of the hospital's intensive care ward and a ward doctor.
Defense lawyers said the doctors did nothing wrong and the city court acquitted them last month.
"The case may be directed that way not because they are guilty, but because it is hard to achieve an acquittal in our country," defense lawyer Yury Kostanov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.