Kremlin’s human rights body to set up contact group on Magnitsky

The Kremlin’s Human Rights Council will set up a contact group with Russia’s Investigation Committee to monitor the investigation into the death of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky, the council’s chairman, Mikhail Fedotov, said on Monday.

“We have taken the decision to create special working groups. One of these groups will work with the Investigation Committee to deal with all the questions referring to Magnitsky’s death in custody…It’s very important for us that no questions remain,” Fedotov said at a press conference.

Other contact groups will be set up within the Interior Ministry’s investigation department, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Penitentiary Service to deal with the Magnitsky case, Fedotov said, without explaining what exactly they will do.

Magnitsky was arrested and jailed without trial in November 2008 and died in police custody a year later after being denied medical care. The 37-year-old auditor had accused tax and police officials of carrying out a hefty $230-million tax scam.

Last week, head of the presidential Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, said that the council will discuss the Magnitsky’s case with President Dmitry Medvedev on Dec. 13.

Hermitage Capital investment on Monday released an in-depth report accusing Russian officials of the false arrest, torture and pre-trial death of Magnitsky and subsequent cover-up by Russian officials.

The 75-page report entitled “The Torture and Murder of Sergei Magnitsky and the Cover Up by the Russian Government” includes more than 100 documents, photographs and media links proving that Russian officials systematically tortured Magnitsky in custody.

The Hermiatge Capital report was published prior to a press conference, to run on Monday, when Mikhail Fedotov and Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva will speak on the investigation into Magnitsky’s death. The document has already been submitted to the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, the US Con­gress, the Canadian Parliament and five EU Parliaments.

In July, the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council said Magnitsky’s death was the result of “calculated, deliberate and inhumane neglect.” A separate investigation into the doctors’ involvement in the case was launched in mid-July.

Two doctors, Larisa Litvinova, the chief doctor of the Butyrka prison where the lawyer died, and Dmitry Kratov, were charged with “causing death through negligence.” The date for the court hearing has not yet been announced.


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