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Russian court rules custody extension for sick inmate who died was illegal - lawyer

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A Russian court has ruled that real estate agency owner Vera Trifonova, who recently died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center, was kept in custody longer than is allowed by law, a lawyer said Wednesday

A Russian court has ruled that real estate agency owner Vera Trifonova, who recently died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center, was kept in custody longer than is allowed by law, a lawyer said Wednesday.

"Today, the Moscow Regional Court's appeals board ruled that the Moscow Region's Odintsovo city court's ruling on the extension of custody for Trifonova until July 16 was illegal. This ruling predefined the fate of my client," Vladimir Zherebenkov told RIA Novosti.

Trifonova, 53, was detained last December along with two accomplices on grand fraud charges. She died on April 30. She was wheelchair-bound and had been diagnosed with diabetes and kidney disease.

Investigators and court officials refused to release her despite concerns about her poor health. Criminal proceedings were launched against the investigator who was dealing with Trifonova's case.

Russian President Dimitry Medvedev has ordered a full investigation into Trifonova's death.

A similar incident occurred in November 2009, when Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died of a heart attack in a Moscow pretrial detention center after awaiting trial on tax evasion charges for 358 days.

Following the death of Magnitsky, which caused uproar in Russia, Medvedev pushed through a law to allow people suspected of economic crimes to be released on bail in order to prevent jail detentions being used to pressure businessmen.

MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti)

 

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