EU Commission: Magnitsky Case an Important Litmus Test for President Medvedev

posted 12 Oct 2010, 09:06 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Oct 2010, 09:46 ]
Source: (info), 11/10/10

· Prisoners

According to a special statement put out by the European Commission, the investigation into the death in a Moscow pre-trial detention centre of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer employed by Hermitage Capital Management, is viewed in Europe as an important litmus test of the effectiveness of the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev.

“The tragic death of Mr Magnitsky while in prison is of great concern for the EU. We have been following the case very closely and are well aware that there has been no breakthrough in the investigation into Mr Magnitsky’s death up until now,” the statement stresses.

The European Commission, as quoted by, noted: “Today, the Magnitsky case remains an important litmus test of whether President Medvedev is serious in his recent calls for modernization and rule-of-law in Russia.”

Sergei Magnitsky died on 16 November 2009 in a hospital at the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention centre. He had been remanded in custody on charges of tax evasion. Until his arrest, the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky had been investigating the theft of assets from Hermitage Capital. Sergei Magnitsky came to the conclusion that law enforcement officers were implicated in the theft.  Sergei Magnitsky’s colleagues insist that in detention he was not given the necessary medical care in good time. Prison doctors gave the official cause of death as cardiovascular inadequacy.

On 12 September Russian human rights defenders and public figures appealed to the leaders of the United States and the countries of the European Union to prohibit entry into their countries of named state officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

“In order to influence those who are seeking to escape liability, only one course remains open: to use the legal possibilities of other states where human rights are not empty words,” says the statement signed by Sergei Kovalev, Marietta Chudakova, Aleksei Simonov, Ludmila Alekseeva, and others.

William Hague, Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom, has said that the possibility of introducing visa bans was being reviewed in relation to those Russian officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. In addition, a bill laying down sanctions for Russian officials implicated in the death Magnitsky has been introduced to the U.S. Congress. The latter move drew a sharp reaction from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which accused Congress of trying to make a “political show”.
Rights in Russia,
12 Oct 2010, 09:46