Court acquits Nerpa submarine tragedy suspects

Vladivostok (Russia), April 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Military Court of the Russian Pacific Fleet Monday acquitted two crew members of a Russian Navy nuclear attack submarine, the Nerpa, basing on Friday’s jury decision.

Twenty men, including seventeen civilian shipyard workers, were suffocated in the accident in November 2008 aboard the Nerpa, an Akula II-class attack submarine, which was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan, after its Freon gas-based fire suppression system was accidentally triggered.

The boat’s captain, Dmitry Lavrentyev, was charged with abuse of authority and an engineer, Dmitry Grobov, was accused of causing death by negligence. The jury unanimously cleared them of the charges last Friday.

“I would like to thank all who supported us these days. This verdict proves once again that people care about the fate of two Russian sailors,” Lavrentyev said after the court’s ruling.

Both Lavrentyev and Grobov are innocent in line with the court’s ruling and the prosecution has the right to appeal the verdict before May 15.

Prosecutor Feliks Mamot said the prosecution will appeal the verdict in the course of the next 10 days.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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