Russia starts investigation over reported beating of adopted child in the U.S.

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened an inquiry after media reports alleged that an adopted Russian child had been subject to abuse by his American parents, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced.

According to the media reports Lieutenant Commander of the Navy Mathew Sweeney, 39, and his wife Amy were arrested in Bristow, Virginia, on suspicion of beating their eight-year old Russian son, adopted in 2006. "The Investigative Committee's Main Investigations Department will probe the beating incident as part of a pre-investigation check," he said.

He added that reports indicate that the boy ran away from the Sweeney's house and found shelter with their neighbors, who discovered bruises all over his body. The boy refused to return home.

"The Investigative Committee is alarmed by the recent killings and beatings of Russian adopted children in American families. Russia will probe each such incident to establish the circumstances of the offenses and the persons guilty of child abuse," Markin said. "The Investigative Committee's position remains unchanged: no matter who the offender is, or where the offense has been committed, it is our duty to protect the interests, life and health of Russian citizens and to take exhaustive measures to bring the offenders to justice in line with Russian and international law." 

Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said on Wednesday that he had asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to provide help with the case of an adopted eight year-old Russian boy who had run away from his parents. "I asked Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to supervise the inquiry and to instruct the Russian Consulate General in the United States to help the injured Russian boy," Astakhov wrote on his Twitter blog.

"The child ran to the neighbors at night pleading for help. Police discovered bruises and traces of beating on his body. The parents have been arrested," Astakhov said.

The incident could jeopardise the come into force of a recently-ratified Russian-American treaty on child adoption. The Russian Foreign Ministry made it clear that the treaty will not come into effect unless the U.S. "sets things right in this sphere".

"This is crucial for the completion of the necessary procedures for the adoption treaty to come into force and for our further cooperation on child adoption," a spokesperson for the Ministry said.

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