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Former Top Russian Penitentiary Official Kills Himself In Courtroom

The former chief of a directorate of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has killed himself in a Moscow courtroom after being sentenced to three years in prison for extortion.

Viktor Sviridov, who was found guilty on February 12 of a charge of extorting 10 million rubles ($157,000) from the FSIN's former deputy chief, Aleksandr Sapozhnikov, shot himself at the Chertanovo district court right after the judge pronounced his sentence.

It was not clear how Sviridov managed to bring a pistol into the courtroom.

Sviridov's lawyer, Grigory Ivanishchev, said his client had hoped to avoid prison because he was suffering from cancer that had advanced to an incurable stage.

The Investigative Committee said it has launched a probe into the court’s system of checking defendants before admitting them into the courtroom.

Based on reporting by Baza, RBC, Kommersant, Interfax, and RIA Novosti