Source: Agencies | 2013-3-3 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
RUSSIA voiced strong skepticism yesterday about the US autopsy on a three-year-old adopted Russian boy in Texas and demanded further investigations, as thousands rallied in Moscow to support the Kremlin ban on US adoptions of Russian children.
Max Shatto's death, ruled accidental, came a month after Moscow passed a ban on international adoptions in retaliation for a new US law targeting alleged Russian human rights violators. Russian officials have pointed at Max's case to defend the ban.
The boy died January 21 after his adopted mother, Laura Shatto, told authorities she found him unresponsive outside their home where he had been playing.
Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson and District Attorney Bobby Bland said Friday that four doctors reviewed the autopsy report and agreed that the boy's death was not intentional. Preliminary autopsy results had indicated Max had bruises on several parts of his body, but Bland said Friday that those bruises appeared to be self-inflicted.
Foreign Ministry rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov said yesterday that Moscow "proceeds from the understanding that these are the preliminary results of the investigation" and urged US authorities to produce autopsy documents.
The Investigative Committee, Russia's top investigative agency, has opened its own probe into the case.
Pro-Kremlin groups rallied in central Moscow to back the ban on US adoptions of Russian children.
"Today people are telling us that Maxim supposedly maimed himself to death with a blunt instrument and damaged his own internal organs. That's a slap in the face of our country and our people," Irina Bergset, a march organizer, said in a speech at the rally.
Organizers claimed upwards of 20,000 attended, though police estimated numbers at 12,000.