U.S. urges Russia to bring those responsible for Magnitsky death to trial

The U.S. Department of State called on the Russian authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the pretrial death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

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 accused tax and police officials of carrying out a $230-million tax scam.

“Today we honor the memory of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitskiy, who died of abuse and neglect two years ago in a Moscow prison after bringing corruption allegations against senior officials,” the Department’s deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, said.

“Despite widely-publicized credible evidence of criminal conduct in Magnitskiy’s case, Russian authorities have failed to bring to justice those responsible,” the deputy spokesman went on.

In July, the Kremlin’s rights body 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 had died, and Dmitry Kratov – were charged with “causing death through negligence.” The date for the court hearing has not yet been announced.

“While we welcome charges against two prison officials, we will continue to call for full accountability for those responsible for Magnitskiy’s unjust imprisonment and wrongful death,” the Department’s deputy spokesman said.

Investigators have also launched a separate probe against prison authorities and other investigators who were allegedly involved in or had interest in the Magnitsky case.

The Russian Investigation Committee says the probe in ongoing and more suspects may be brought to justice.

In July 2011, the U.S. State Department banned visas for Russian officials over their involvement in the detention and death of Magnitsky, the so-called “Magnitsky list.” Washington Post said there were about 60 names on the list.

Moscow responded in kind, compiling its own list of 11 “undesirable” U.S. officials barred from entry to Russia. The officials are reportedly linked to the notorious Guantanamo prison.

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