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Court Failed to Convene Jury for Nerpa Case

Court Failed to Convene Jury for Nerpa Case 20.08.2012
Text: Gazeta.ru
Photo: Dmitry Lavrentiev and defending counsel Sergei Bondar. Primamedia.ru
Last Friday Pacific Fleet (PF) Court Martial failed to form the jury for the criminal case on the accident happened to nuclear submarine Nerpa, reports Gazeta.ru referring to Interfax and Sergei Bondar, defending counsel of the sub's commanding officer Dmitry Lavrentiev.

"Twelve candidates for jurymen came to the court session. After all recusals, only four candidates left", Bondar said.

The next court session is set on Sept 25. It will be also held behind closed doors.

It was moved by defense to hear the case by jury. PF Court Martial granted that motion. On the other hand, having investigated the complaint of defense attorneys, the court refused to send the criminal case back to procuracy.

"We will appeal against that decision in accordance with legal procedures", said Sergei Bondar.

In addition, the court denied a motion of defense to recuse the judge Daniil Logachev.

Recall that submariners' club of Amur Shipyard recently addressed to Russian president Vladimir Putin with an open letter asking him to get into the process and find those who are guilty of the tragedy caused 20 deaths.

Submariners wrote in their letter:

"We are members of Amur Shipyard Submariners' Club, we used to build various kinds of submarines and used to serve in them. We know sailors of Pacific Fleet and have spent many days inside strength hull with them. And for us, it is a mystery to watch another circus show aimed to lock up excellent commanding officer of SSN Nerpa".

As for the veterans, "...looks like there were no Molibden-I control system designed by NPO Avrora which did fail many times. And what happened to those scoundrels who had mixed freon with toxic carbon dichloride?" they wrote.

The tragedy happened to SSN Nerpa on Nov 8, 2008 during trials in the Sea of Japan. As a result of unauthorized activation of fire-smothering system, freon gas entered the sub's compartments. As was found out later, the fire suppressant contained toxic admixtures. Twenty men died, other 21 were intoxicated. Totally, there were 208 men onboard the submarine.

Investigators suppose the fire-smothering system was activated by Seaman Dmitry Grobov who pushed appropriate buttons and accidentally gave a command to let the fire suppressant in. Besides, the submarine's commanding officer Dmitry Lavrentiev is considered guilty as well. Allegedly, he failed to train subordinates properly.

First hearing of that case finished with acquittal delivered by the jury. Prosecution disputed that decision in the Supreme Court. As a result, the acquittal was canceled, and the case was sent to reconsideration.

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