A Moscow City Court has reduced the jail term of a Russian Transport Ministry official, who was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter, from 13 to 5 years .
Vladimir Makarov was found guilty of sexually abusing his eight-year old daughter in September. The case sparked widespread public concern as there was no reliable evidence of Makarov’s guilt.
The verdict was based on the ruling of a child psychologist working in a center that cares for young victims of abuse. The psychologist found signs of sexual assault in a picture drawn by Makarov’s little daughter.
Makarov’s lawyer, Oleg Astashenkov, said that he was going to appeal the court’s ruling. “Today’s ruling is a victory, albeit a relative one,” Astashenkov said.
The laywers said the evidence of Makarov’s guilt were not reliable and inadmissible from a legal point of view.
In early October, Russia’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a presidential bill introducing chemical castration for pedophiles.
The bill also stipulates that pedophiles would be stripped of the right to plea for a suspended sentence and re-offenders of sex crimes against minors will face life sentences.
The voluntary chemical procedure involves a regular application of injections leading to a fall in the level of the male hormone testosterone, which suppresses the sex drive of the recipient. Its effect, however, are reversible.
In Russia, the age of consent is set at 16, however, if an adult is found to have had sex with a minor younger than 14 the sentence is much more severe.
The Russian authorities moved to toughen punishment for pedophiles in 2009, following a rash of child rape cases earlier that year. Before 2009, those convicted of rape were sentenced to just eight to 15 years in prison and those convicted of sexually abusing children younger than 16 could get away with just a fine.