President Dmitry Medvedev urged government agencies on Saturday to work out a way to punish foreigners for violent treatment of adopted Russian children in the wake of recent acquittal rulings in the United States.
The president stepped in to protect Russian children after courts in the U.S. cleared three adoptive parents of premeditated murder charges in two child killing cases in the past month.
“There cannot be any distinction here between cases happening abroad and those taking place in our country because all these are grave crimes,” Medvedev told Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov.
According to Astakhov’s press service, 19 children adopted in Russia have died from the hands of their adoptive parents in the United States since the early 1990s.
In a recent development, 35-year-old Brian and Lisa Dykstra of Iowa City were cleared of charges of killing their 18-month toddler Isaac Dykstra, adopted in Russia, on November 3. Astakhov said Russia might start its own investigation into the case.
Medvedev said lawmakers had recently passed a package of legal initiatives to protect children’s rights. “Now the goal is to use this legal instrument firmly and consistently,” he added but admitted that the issue was a complicated one.
Two weeks ago, a Pennsylvania court set free Michael and Nanette Craver who had been found guilty of the involuntarily manslaughter of their adopted Russian son, Ivan, and sentenced to 16 months in jail. The couple had already spent about 18 months in jail so they were released immediately. Ivan had been found dead with over 80 injuries on his body.