Hermitage Capital investment fund on Monday released an in-depth and documented report accusing Russian officials of the false arrest, torture and pre-trial death of its auditor Sergei Magnitsky and the subsequent cover-up by Russian officials.
“Most shockingly, this report proves that nearly every high level Russian official in the law enforcement system publicly lied to cover up the fact that he was systematically denied medical care for a life threatening illness,” Hermitage Capital said in a press release.
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 lawyer had accused tax and police officials of carrying out a hefty $230-million tax scam.
In November 2009, officials stated that Magnitsky had “acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis and gallstones” and should be transferred to Matrosskaya Tishina jail for “emergency hospitalization”.
“Upon arrival to Matrosskaya Tishina, instead of hospitalizing him [Magnitsky], a team of 8 riot troopers placed him in an isolation cell, handcuffed him to a bed and beat him with rubber batons,” the Hermitage Capital report said. According to the testimony of civilian doctors who arrived to treat Magnitsky, they were not allowed into his cell for more than one hour.
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.
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 report was carried out by a team of pro-bono lawyers, forensic investigators and Magnitsky’s colleagues, who have reviewed Russian court files, criminal case materials and public statements by government officials in the Magnitsky case, the Hermitage Capital press release said. “This is a unique record of the injustice that was done to Sergei Magnitsky and it also lays bare the inner workings of the corruption inside the Russian criminal justice system,” the company said.
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.
The report conducted by Hermitage Capital shows that state bodies received Magnitsky’s complaints on his health condition but flatly refused them.
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.
Hermitage Capital is waging a campaign to obtain visa sanctions and asset freezes in the West for dozens of the Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky’s death. Russian law enforcers and judges who participated in the Magnitsky’s probe have denied any wrongdoing.