Constitutional Court Upholds Legality of Reopening Criminal Case against Magnitsky

Source: (info), 10/04/12

· The courts  · Prisoners  · Moscow city & Moscow region

The Constitutional Court of Russia has upheld the legality of the reopening of the criminal case against attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who died three years ago in a pre-trial detention centre. The Court dismissed an appeal by Magnitsky’s mother to cancel a decision by Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin’s to reopen the investigation, and to revoke his cancellation of a ruling to end the investigation into the attorney’s death.

“According to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, if during the preliminary investigation there emerge reasons for a decision to rehabilitate the deceased, the case becomes subject to termination on grounds relating to rehabilitation. Otherwise, it is transferred to the court for regular consideration,” reads the Constitutional Court decision, cited by the Rosbalt news agency.

Magnitsky, who had been accused of tax evasion at the investment fund where he worked, died at the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention centre on 16 November 2009. Investigations into his death revealed that the attorney died in prison because he didn’t receive medical treatment in time. On 10 April the Investigative Committee decided to drop criminal charges against Larisa Litvinova, a doctor at the detention centre, who had been accused of failure to provide Magnitsky with adequate medical care. It was noted that the case was dropped due to the statute of limitations.

According to the prosecution, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of roubles through fraudulent tax returns. The Hermitage Capital investment fund, where Magnitsky worked, counters that Magnitsky’s prosecution is tied to his discovery of a corrupt transaction scheme by which law enforcement officials stole 5.4 billion roubles from the government budget that had been paid in tax by its companies.

The tax evasion case against Magnitsky was renewed earlier this year.