Court postpones retrial of government official poachers until December 16
GORNO-ALTAYSK, November 30 - RAPSI. A district court put off until December 16 the retrial of high-ranking officials charged with hunting endangered animals during an ill-fated helicopter flight since a defendant and a lawyer of one of the defendants are sick, the court told RIA Novosti.
A Mi-171 helicopter (Mi-8 modification) carrying high-ranking officials crashed in the vicinity of Chornaya Mountain in January 2009, killing seven passengers. Of the four passengers that survived the crash, three stood trial for illegally poaching endangered Argali Sheep.
However, an Altai district court acquitted the three for lack of evidence on May 23, 2010.
The prosecutor's office filed a cassation appeal of the acquittal. The Altai Supreme Court satisfied the appeal and remanded the case for review on August 11.
Photographs of the crash site were published on the Internet, showing Argali Sheep carcasses strewn amidst helicopter debris. The photographs caused a massive public outcry, especially since the animals are on Russian and international endangered species lists.
Argali hunting has been prohibited in Russia since 1930.
The district court told RIA Novosti that the defense requested the court to adjourn the case due to poor health of defendant Nikolai Kapranov.
Earlier the press-secretary also said that the appeal to put off the trial was also filed by Valery Davydov, a defense counsel of defendant Anatoli Bannykh, former Altai Republic deputy prime minister. The proceedings were postponed in the autumn due to Bannykh's poor health.