Russia should make more frequent use of bail and house arrest as pre-trial restrictions, especially for critically ill and juvenile defendants, the Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Thursday.
The justice system should focus on improving the quality and timeliness of preliminary investigations and ensuring strict observance of the constitutional rights of participants in criminal proceedings, Markin said, citing the committee’s chairman.
The deaths in pretrial detention of two defendants in white-collar crime cases, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and businesswoman Vera Trifonova, sparked a public outcry. Magnitsky, 37, who was defending British investment company Hermitage Capital Management against tax evasion charges, died in Moscow’s Butyrka pre-trial detention center in November, 2009 after his pancreatitis was left untreated. He had complained that the prison authorities refused him medical care. Magnitsky’s death triggered an international row amid concerns that his imprisonment may have been politically motivated.
Vera Trifonova 54, a wheelchair-bound businesswoman, died at Matrosskaya Tishina the following year after being refused medical treatment for acute diabetes and told to sleep “standing up.”