Supreme Court quashes not guilty verdict against transplant doctors

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MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Supreme Court Wednesday quashed a not guilty verdict in the case of a group of Moscow doctors accused of carrying out illegal transplants.

A court statement said the case had been sent back to the Moscow City Court for a retrial with a new jury.

Doctors Irina Lirtsman and Lyubov Pravdenko, of Hospital No. 20, and Bairma Shagdurova and Pyotr Pyatnichuk, of the Moscow Organ Donation Coordination Center, were cleared in a retrial November 4 of charges of trying to remove a kidney from the victim of a car accident while he was still alive.

Moscow City Court exonerated the doctors, saying there was not enough evidence to prove they had committed the premeditated murder of Anatoly Orekhov, 50. The court said Orekhov had died of severe brain injuries sustained in a car crash, and that the attempted kidney removal followed his death.

Prosecutors, however, said Orekhov was still alive and still had a pulse when police arrived at the hospital and saw the doctors preparing to carry out the transplant.

The Supreme Court overturned the city court's first acquittal on March 1 and sent the case back for a retrial.

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