Russia extends pre-trial detention for sick woman

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A Russian court on Wednesday extended by six months the pre-trial detention of a seriously ill businesswoman, despite her case drawing criticism from a human rights court, her lawyer said.

Natalya Gulevich will be detained until May 18, one of her lawyers, Andrei Shtanko told Russian news service Ria Novosti.

Gulevich was arrested in December 2010 and detained on suspicion of fraud.

The health of Gulevich, in her 50s, has worsened in Russia's often-squalid pre-trial detention system. Her bladder has failed and she is suffering a kidney infection triggered by a dirty catheter, her lawyer Anna Stavitskaya told the news service.

On November 22, she was transferred to a hospital for treatment.

Gulevich's case has drawn renewed international attention to pre-trial custody in Russia. Conditions were previously in the spotlight after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, held on similar economic charges, died in jail in 2009 of untreated health problems.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled this month that Russian authorities must organise an independent medical exam and provide Gulevich with appropriate treatment before December 2.

A Moscow court had agreed to release Gulevich on 100-million-ruble ($3.2-million) bail, but her family could not raise the funds in time.

Gulevich is the owner of a real estate company and was accused of failing to repay a loan of several million dollars to Nomos Bank.

She argues that the bank's affiliates orchestrated an illegal takeover of her firm.

© 2011 AFP

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