Russian Local Officials Suspended over Dima Yakovlev Case

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – The governor of Russia’s Pskov Region has suspended two officials pending an investigation into the adoption of Dima Yakovlev, who died in the United States.

A spokesman for the local administration said Armen Mnatsakanyan, head of the regional social security department, and Valentina Chernova, head of the department’s guardianship division, were suspended by Governor Andrei Turchak on Friday.

The officials have been suspended as an investigation has revealed new details of Yakovlev’s adoption by the US family, the spokesman said.

Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on Thursday new details were uncovered during the investigation, indicating that the signature of Yakovlev’s Russian grandmother on various documents was forged.

Dima Yakovlev (Chase Harrison) died of heatstroke in 2008 after his American adoptive father Miles Harrison left him in an overheated car for hours. Harrison, 49, was acquitted by a Virginia court of involuntary manslaughter, fueling a wave of criticism from Russia.

President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Friday a controversial bill that imposes a ban on adoption of Russian children by Americans, which will come into force on January 1, 2013.


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