MOSCOW, January 17 (RAPSI) – The mortality rate in Moscow detention facilities has decreased in 2013 and has amounted to 34 inmates, Anatoly Tikhomirov, Head of the Moscow branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service announced Friday.

Some 44 people died in 2012, while 34 deaths were recorded in 2013, Tikhomirov said.

According to Tikhomirov, 21 investigated persons and 13 convicts have been freed for medical reasons on the basis of the civil medical boards' instructions.

The number of suspects and defendants who have been placed by Moscow's courts under house arrest quadrupled from the year before last, Tikhomirov added.

The problem of mortality in Moscow detention facilities attracted public attention after the death of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky.

On November 24, 2008, Magnitsky was arrested on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009 after having spent a year behind bars. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by heart failure.

The case was closed after his death, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, persons can be prosecuted after their death. On July 11, 2013, the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow convicted the late British Hermitage Capital Fund auditor of tax evasion.