Ex-official kills himself in Russian court

A former Russian prison service official with cancer shot himself dead in a courtroom after being handed a three-year sentence on corruption charges, officials say.

Local court and investigative officials said Viktor Sviridov, who had served as chief of department in the federal prison service, took out his pistol and shot himself dead in the courtroom after hearing the verdict on Wednesday.

Officials are now looking at how Sviridov was able to bring the gun into the court building.

Sviridov was convicted of extorting a 10 million rouble ($A234,520) bribe.

Sviridov pleaded guilty to the charges and his lawyers asked the judge not to send him to prison.

He had been requested not to leave Moscow and came to attend the sentencing from home.

Sviridov's lawyer said he had cancer and didn't expect to be given a prison term.