Russian Prison Doctors Charged Over Jailed Lawyer Magnitsky’s Death

Russia has charged two prison doctors in connection with the high-profile death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at a Moscow jail.

Russia’s investigative committee made the announcement, saying it had established a “direct link” between Magnitsky’s death and the two doctors.

The case has sparked an international row between Moscow and the United States, which recently blacklisted Russian officials accused of involvement in Magnitsky’s death. Russia responded in kind, with dozens of U.S. officials now barred from entering the country.

The 37-year-old Magnitsky died from untreated pancreatitis in November 2009 at the jail, where he was awaiting trial on tax-evasion and fraud charges.

His colleagues accuse prison officials of denying Magnitsky life-saving treatment as part of efforts to silence him and say the charges against him were fabricated by police investigators whom he had accused of cheating the state through fraudulent tax returns.

“In the course of the investigation of the criminal case, a direct cause-and-effect relation was established between Magnitsky’s death and the actions of the doctors at the [Butyrka] pretrial detention facility where he was held,” Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told reporters on August 12. “Today, a doctor-lab technician, Larisa Litvinova, has been charged with a crime in accordance with  Part 2 of Article 109 of the Russian Criminal Code — causing death by neglecting her professional duties.”

The Kremlin’s human rights council has suggested the lawyer, who represented Hermitage Capital equity fund, might have been beaten to death.

compiled from agency reports

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