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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Boy's death draws Russian concern
Boy crying (generic image)
Thousands of Russian children are adopted by foreigners
Russia should demand the right to track thousands of children adopted each year by foreign parents, the country's top legal officer has said.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov raised the idea as a US court sentenced a woman to 12 years for killing an adopted Russian boy aged six.

A Chicago jury convicted Irma Pavlis of involuntary manslaughter.

Alexei was the 13th adopted Russian child to be killed abroad in recent years, according to Mr Ustinov.

He said there were no proper agreements with other states to "ensure effective control over the adopted children's situation and take measures to prevent violence against them".

Slapped and punched

Russian TV stations have widely reported the Pavlis case, as well as successful examples of adoption by American families.

Jurors in Chicago were shown a taped interview with Pavlis, whose lawyers said she had tried to discipline him.

"I hit him in the head," she told police on the tape. "It was hard. I slapped him again in the face. I punched him in the stomach."

Her defence argued that Alexei had died not of abuse but of brain injuries caused by his birth mother's excessive drinking during pregnancy.

According to Reuters news agency, foreigners adopt about 7,000 Russian children each year with Russian families taking roughly the same number but some 150,000 children in all are listed as eligible for adoption.

Many of those who go abroad have disabilities and behavioural disorders.

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