Case against dead lawyer resurrected

The Investigative Committee has reopened the tax evasion case against Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who died at a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.

The decision follows a Constitutional Court ruling to abrogate Criminal Procedure Code provisions which had allowed closing the investigations when the suspect died.

While such investigations could previously be closed without the consent of the deceased relatives, the new provisions are a victory for those who would like to posthumously clear the names of their loved ones.

The Prosecutor General’s Office ruled that the investigative body’s decision to close the case was unconstitutional, as Magnitsky’s mother and wife did not agree to its closure.

“Not everyone in Russia wants to see Magnitsky rehabilitated,” political analyst Dmitry Babich told RT. “It is basically part of the elite engaged in fighting for its rights. Magnitsky is seen as a member of their own class. They want him to be rehabilitated, because it would set a precedent for everyone. Still, it doesn’t touch the majority of Russians. It’s an affair for a limited circle of people.”

Babich believes the result of the investigation will depend on the position of the West.

“If the pressure is too strong and a ban on the involved officials’ entry into the US is adopted, if their property is confiscated, then the response will be the opposite of that desired. The elite will consolidate itself and defend itself from the Western pressure,” Babich said.

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