Ex-prison warden commits suicide in court to avoid 3-year sentence for bribery

A former Russian prison service official diagnosed with terminal cancer shot himself dead in a courtroom on Wednesday after being handed a three-year jail sentence on corruption charges.

Viktor Sviridov, who had served as a transport manager in the federal prison service, took out a pistol and shot himself dead in the courtroom after hearing the verdict.

An investigation has begun into how Sviridov was able to smuggle the gun into the court building.

Sviridov has pleaded guilty to extorting a 10-million ruble (€150,000) bribe from another prison service official but his lawyers asked the judge not to impose a prison sentence because of his advanced and incurable cancer.

“The circumstances in which the defendant … carried weapons to the courthouse, are being established,” Ulyana Solopova, spokeswoman for the Moscow City Court, told RIA Novosti.

A typical sentence for the bribery conviction would be between 7 and to 15 years in prison, the agency said.