Doctors Irina Lirtsman and Lyubov Pravdenko of Hospital No. 20, and Bairma Shagdurova and Pyotr Pyatnichuk of the Moscow Organ Donation Coordination Center, were twice cleared in March and November 2005 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. The court said Orekhov, 50, had died of severe brain injuries sustained in the crash, and that the attempted kidney removal occurred after his death.
Prosecutors, however, said Orekhov was still alive and his pulse was still beating when police arrived at the hospital and saw the doctors preparing to carry out the transplant.
Prosecutors appealed against the acquittal, demanding the verdict be quashed and the case considered by a new team of judges at the Moscow City Court.