Russia fires investigators over new prison death

Russia has fired two investigators for their role in the prison death of a real estate executive last week, officials said.

Russia fires investigators over new prison death

Russia has fired two investigators for their role in the prison death of a real estate executive last week, officials said on Tuesday, months after the death of a lawyer in the same prison sparked international outcry.

Vera Trifonova, 53, died on Friday in Moscow's Sailor's Rest prison where she was awaiting trial on fraud charges. Her supporters said she had been diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure.

The investigators were dismissed for failing to act on requests that Trifonova be released to receive medical treatment, the investigative unit of the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

"When she was arrested she told the investigators about the serious state of her health and the need for constant treatment, but the investigators, in violation of the law, did not follow up on this and asked a court to imprison her," it said.

Trifonova was arrested in late 2009 on charges of attempting to help a businessman offer a bribe to secure a seat in Russia's upper house of parliament, or the Federation Council.

A day after her death, the Kremlin demanded a "wide-ranging" investigation. A criminal case has also been opened against a third investigator for negligence, said the statement by the Prosecutor General's Office.

President Dmitry Medvedev had earlier ordered to reform Russia's corruption-tainted prison system after the death in jail in November, 2009, of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for what was once Russia's top equity fund, Hermitage.

Magnitsky's family blamed the prison system for denying the father-of-two medical treatment as he awaited trial for tax evasion, in a case that has spooked investors.

Medvedev, a former lawyer, fired several prison officials after Magnitsky's death. He later signed a law stipulating that tax evasion suspects should not be jailed pending trial.

A U.S. senator last week asked Washington to cancel U.S. visa privileges for 60 Russian officials because too little has been done to punish those responsible for Magnitsky's death.

Reuters

Last Mod: 04 Mayıs 2010, 20:09
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