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Freedom House Calls on Russian Authorities to Prevent the Death of Natalya Gulevich
Freedom House calls on the Russian government to investigate the circumstances of Natalya Gulevich’s detention and provide her with the necessary care to return her to health. The denial of critical medical care to Natalya Gulevich, illegally detained in pre-trial detention facilities since December 2010, renews concerns about the rule of law in Russia and that the Russian authorities are flagrantly violating their responsibility to care for people detained by the government by denying needed healthcare to detainees. Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in detention just over two years ago, was also denied treatment while awaiting trial on charges of tax fraud despite his and his family’s pleas for emergency assistance. Gulevich’s case, much like that of the Sergei Magnitsky’s, indicates that healthcare is being denied for corrupt purposes in detention facilities. Let Magnitsky’s memory serve to help avoid a repeat of the same crimes, mistreatment, and death.
Gulevich is accused of fraud under article 159 of Russia’s criminal code for failing to pay back a loan that was received by Status, the business she led at the time. Recent amendments to Russia’s criminal code, however, abolished pre-trial detention for these types of economic crimes. According to press reports, Gulevich is suffering from multiple organ failure that the prison doctors are unable to diagnose. Russian courts, apparently based on government claims that she would flee, have repeatedly refused to release her in contravention to the recent amendments to the criminal code and in disregard for her deteriorating health. Gulevich’s lawyer appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which decided on November 18 to intervene under emergency provisions and ordered that she be released for care to a special hospital.