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Russian Man Probing Mother's Death In Detention Is Attacked

Vera Trifonova, before and after her arrest last year

Vera Trifonova, before and after her arrest last year

KHIMKI, Russia -- A man investigating the death of his mother in pretrial detention last year has been attacked by a knife-wielding man, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Vera Trifonova's son, Vyacheslav Raikov, and his friend were attacked in a bar in the town of Khimki, near Moscow, on March 19. A man identified as Roman Bochkin was arrested as the alleged attacker.

Raikov's lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told journalists that the attacker was detained but later freed by local police. Raikov sustained a wound to his neck but was not hospitalized.

Zherebenkov said police refused to launch an investigation into the attack and the major evidence -- the knife -- has disappeared. Based on the police reaction to the attack, he believes it was a deliberate attempt to intimidate Raikov.

Raikov has been trying to investigate the death of his mother in a detention center in Moscow in April 2010 in the hope that those responsible will be brought to trial. Other relatives of Trifonova say they have received several verbal death threats from unknown people.

Trifonova, the head of a real estate company, was arrested in December 2009 and charged with fraud. She was accused of offering to help two bankers gain seats in the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, in return for some $1.5 million. She insisted she was innocent of the charges.

Trifonova suffered from diabetes and kidney problems. She died of heart failure in the medical ward of a Moscow pretrial detention center on April 30, 2010, at the age of 53.

In May, the Moscow regional court ruled that extending her term in pretrial detention until July 16 was unlawful.

Several officials were subsequently dismissed, including Olga Makarova, a judge at Moscow's Odintsov District Court; investigator Sergei Pysin; and Investigative Committee deputy head Aleksandr Filippov.

Read more in Russian here