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Moscow Helsinki Group: Magnitsky's Murderer's Must Be Brought to Justice

Source: (Author), 23/04/10
Officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who organised the unlawful arrest, prosecution and torture in pre-trial detention of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky must be brought to trial, a statement issued by Moscow Helsinki Group said.
According to, the statement signed by Ludmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, cites evidence collected by the Public Oversight Commission for Human Rights Observance in Moscow Detention Centres. The Public Oversight Commission examined the details of the criminal prosecution and death of Sergei Magnitsky, as well as facts set out in 450 appeals submitted by Magnitsky during his time in confinement in pre-trial detention.
According to the human rights defenders, Magnitsky was murdered to cover up crimes committed by police ministry officials about which he had given evidence a number of months before his arrest. The evidence gathered points to the involvement of a number of police ministry officials in the theft of 5.4bn roubles of state funds.
The statement says: “This death [of Sergei Magnitsky - ed.] is not accidental, neither did it just happen as the result of an oversight or of the negligence of particular individuals working in the penitentiary system. Sergei Magnitsky died as a result of systematic torture to which he was purposely subjected on the order of police ministry officials O. F. Silchenko and A. K. Kuznetsov, and the latter’s subordinates Krechetov, Tolchinsky and Droganov, as well as other unidentified persons.”
The Moscow Helsinki Group points out that Russia is a signatory to the international UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. According to Article 12 of this Convention, “Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.”
In line with the requirements of Russian and international law, human rights defender Ludmila Alekseeva has called on Aleksandr Bastrykin, chair of the Investigative Committee, to investigate this crime against humanity and human rights as a matter of urgency.
The criminal prosecution of Hermitage Capital personnel began in June 2007. The company’s executive management was accused of large-scale tax evasion.
Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer representing the company, was arrested on charges of tax evasion. After 11 months of imprisonment he died in pre-trial detention. Colleagues of the lawyer, and the lawyers representing him, have placed the responsibility for his death on the prison administration. After a group of human rights defenders brought this event to the attention of President Medvedev, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into the lawyer’s death.
Rights in Russia,
3 May 2010, 13:30