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Probe Launched Into Another Russian Suspect's Death In Detention

MOSCOW -- Russia's Investigative Committee has begun investigating the death of a teacher in a Moscow pretrial detention center over the weekend, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Andrei Kudoyarov, 48, a teacher in Moscow's secondary school No 1308, died of an apparent heart attack on October 8. He had been charged with extortion.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told journalists on October 11 that the investigation assumes "dereliction of professional duty with unintended fatal consequences."

Russian human rights activists are demanding an independent investigation.

Moscow Bureau for Human Rights Head Aleksandr Brod, told RFE/RL on October 10 the problem is not whether or not Kudoyarov was guilty but rather the routine violation of the rights of Russian citizens suspected of crimes or wrongdoing.

"Kudoyarov's death has reminded us yet again of the inhuman conditions faced by people in detention centers and jails, of torture, of the pressure the authorities exert on lawyers, of poor medical care in penitentiaries," Brod said.

Brod said it is unclear why every suspect, including those who do not pose the slightest danger to society, must be kept in detention.

Lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov, whose client, Russian businesswoman Vera Trifonova, died in a pretrial detention center in Moscow in April last year, told RFE/RL both Trifonova and Kudoyarov died as a result of "the very low professional level of medical personnel in detention centers."

"Medical personnel in Russian penitentiaries and detention centers are not independent, but subordinate to the management of those penitentiaries, which leads to violations of inmates' right to receive professional and timely medical service when needed," Zherebenkov said.

Read more in Russian here