Source Pravda.Ru

Defendants plead not guilty of illegal kids trafficking to Italy

The Volgograd regional court (southern federal district) will announce the sentence of Italian national Nadezhda Fratti and three officials accused of illegal kids trafficking abroad.

In their last word, all the four convicts pled not guilty.

Nadezhda Fratti is accused of forgery and falsification of documents and bribing. Chief doctor of the Mikhailovsky orphanage Antonina Tekucheva, former director of the Kirov orphanage of Volgograd Tatiana Chaplina and former expert of the regional committee for education Valentina Gerusova are charged with taking bribes from Fratti for accelerating kids' adoption process.

Nadezhda Fratti appeared in the Volgograd region in 1993 as a representative of the international adoption association Arcobaleno. Gerusova, Chaplina and Tekucheva helped Fratti establish a system of kids' adoption and trafficking to Italy from the Volgograd region. Fratti in return provided them with paid tourist trips to the Mediterranean. According to the investigation files, 558 kids were smuggled from the Volgograd region from 1993 to January 2001.

The Volgograd regional court is considering the Fratti case for a second time. On April 12th 2002, the court ruled the guilt of all the four accused unproved. Russia's Supreme Court considered the appeal of the Volgograd regional prosecutor's office against the sentence on September 11, 2002. The Supreme Court sent the Fratti case to Volgograd for reconsideration by other judges.