Prisoner Dies as Police Pledge Better Care

A 52-year-old man was found hanged in a police clink in western Moscow in an apparent suicide — just as the interior minister promised to step up care for detainees and the selection criteria for officers.

Nikolai Matryonin, who was detained for petty hooliganism, hanged himself using his own belt, Interfax reported Sunday. The man was drunk at the time of his arrest.

The Investigative Committee opened an inquiry into the actions of precinct officers who could have prevented Matryonin's suicide, the report said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that people brought to police precincts would undergo medical examinations on arrival and release to make sure that they would not be able to make claims of police mistreatment.

The checks are needed “so a person who comes to the Interior Ministry or is detained will not be able to say the law enforcement officers treated him inhumanely,” Nurgaliyev said, RIA-Novosti reported, citing an interview to Channel One television.

He did not elaborate on the practical implications of the decision, which would require examining hundreds of people nationwide every day. But a ministry spokesman told The Moscow Times that police were working on related guidelines for officers.

Nurgaliyev also said the selection criteria for candidates to serve on the police force, which is undergoing a Kremlin-ordered overhaul, will be tougher than ever before.

"The person who comes to our environment, to our community, to our large family, must meet these criteria. It is very important to us to have the best of the best, and we will strive for this," Nurgaliyev said.

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