MOSCOW, March 30 (RAPSI) - The Petrozavodsk City Court in Karelia on Tuesday again acquitted ex-chief of the Republic’s division of the Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor Anatoly Kovalenko and his ex-deputy Lyudmila Kotovich in a case over children’s death in Syamozero lake in 2016, RAPSI was told in the court’s press service.

The acquitted persons have a right to rehabilitation, the court held.

In June 2020, the Supreme Court of Russia’s Republic of Karelia overturned acquittal of Kovalenko and Kotovich and ordered retrial. The sentence against other defendants was upheld at the appeal hearing.

In March 2020, ex-director of Syamozero Park Hotel camp Elena Reshetova was sentenced to 9.5 years behind bars as part of the case. Reshetova’s deputy Vadim Vinogradov received the same prison term. Both of them were found guilty of rendering of services in violation of safety protocol which accidentally lead two or more people to death. 

The camp’s instructor Valery Krupodershikov was convicted of failure to give assistance to persons in mortal danger and received an 8-month jail term. However, he was released under the statute of limitations.

The court also granted compensation claims against the defendants and collected 21.1 million rubles (about $330,000) from Reshetova, 18 million rubles ($280,000) from Vinogradov and 1.15 million rubles ($18,000) from Krupodershikov in favor of victims.

Three other defendants, Kovalenko, Kotovich and instructor Pavel Ilyin were acquitted.

According to investigators, on June 18, 2016, 47 children and instructors of the children’s camp Park-Hotel “Syamozero” were sailing on a raft and two canoes over the lake Syamozero in Karelia despite the fact that management of the camp were informed about dangerous weather conditions.

Children were accompanied by 4 adults who did not take gathering storm into account. Storm made sailing extremely dangerous: a raft with children and two adults washed up near one of the islands while both canoes were capsized, leaving passengers in the open waters. Only some managed to swim across to the shore. 14 children drowned. Other children survived and were evacuated.

In April 2017, ambulance paramedic Irina Shcherbakova, who had refused to notify rescue services about children drowning in Syamozero, received a 3-year prison term. The sentence was suspended until Shcherbakova’s daughter reaches the age of 14.