Ailing woman denied care in Russian pre-trial jail: lawyer

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A Russian businesswomen, on pre-trial detention for nearly a year, is enduring poor conditions which defy a recent European rights ruling and quickly losing her health, her lawyer said Monday.

"Natalia Gulevich's health is very poor. Her bladder failed eight months ago, and she lives with a catherer. Her right kidney has also stopped functioning," lawyer Anna Stavitskaya told AFP.

"She does not receive the necessary medical assistance in prison, and they are refusing to move her to a specialised hospital," she said.

Gulevich lost the function in her kidney due to an unsanitary catherer, Stavitskaya said.

The 50-year-old owner of the Status real estate company was accused of failing to repay a loan of several million dollars to Nomos-Bank. She argues that the bank's affiliates have ochestrated an illegal takeover of her firm.

Her case alarmed rights groups after the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, held on similar economic charges in pre-trial detention, died in jail in 2009 of untreated health problems after complaining of being blackmailed and tortured.

In 2010, businesswoman Vera Trifonova held in the same prison on fraud charges died of diabetes, kidney failure, and other health problems.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that the Russian authorities must organise an "independent medical exam" and provide Gulevich with "appropriate treatment" before December 2, subsequently moving the prisoner to a "specialised hospital," her lawyer said.

"All the decisions of the ECHR are obligatory," she said, hoping for a "positive decision" by the Russian courts.

Moscow city court accepted earlier this month to release Gulevich on 100-million-ruble ($3.2-million) bail, but her family could not raise the funds in time.

© 2011 AFP

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