Magnitsky Trial Due To Start

A trial gets under way in Moscow later today of an anti-corruption lawyer who died in custody.

Sergei Magnitsky was arrested shortly after accusing state officials of a $230 million theft.

He died in 2009 in pretrial detention after nearly a year in jail on suspicion of tax fraud. His death sparked an international outcry and caused tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Last year, the United States passed legislation — known as the Magnitsky Act — to punish officials linked to his death as well as other Russians deemed to have committed rights abuses.

Following that, Russia introduced a ban on all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International has called Russia’s first posthumous trial a “dangerous precedent.” 

Magnitsky worked for the London-based investment fund Hermitage Capital.

Hermitage owner William Browder is being tried in absentia alongside his
former employee.

Last week, fresh fraud charges were filed against Browder over dealings a decade ago in shares in the state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.

Browder has said the charges are an “absurdity” meant as revenge for his
campaigning for the U.S. rights legislation named after Magnitsky.

Based on Reuters and AP reporting

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