Sergei Magnitsky Announced as Posthumous Winner of the Transparency International Integrity Award 2009-2010
November 12, 2010
Today, Transparency International, a leading civil society organisation fighting corruption, announced that its 2009-2010 Integrity Award has been posthumously given to Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian lawyer tortured to death in police custody. The award was received by Sergei Magnitsky’ mother, Natalia Magnitskaya, at a special award ceremony of the International Anti-Corruption conference in Bangkok.
Sion Assidon, Chair of the Integrity Awards Committee said:
“Sergei did what to most people seems impossible: he battled as a lone individual against the power of an entire state. He believed in the rule of law and integrity, and died for his belief. Sergei, his heroic fight, and the ideals he stood for must never be forgotten”.
“Mr Magnitsky’s commitment to the principles of integrity, transparency and good governance that Transparency International stands for, have been championed through relentless determination in fighting the abuse of power for private gain.”
By posthumously awarding the Integrity Award to Mr Magnitsky, Transparency International hopes that his integrity and work will embolden others to continue their pursuit of justice.
Sion Assidon also noted that:
“His extraordinary bravery and unfaltering courage in the face of dire circumstances serves as an inspiration to all of us.”
Launched in 2000, the Integrity Awards recognise courageous individuals who have made a significant difference in the fight against corruption. Previous winners include government and corporate whistleblowers, civil society activists, and extraordinary citizens from around the world.
The TI Integrity Awards Committee consists of 11 individuals from across the world who have been active in the anti-corruption movement. They select the winners from nominations received by individuals and organisations.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Transparency International is a global network including more than 90 locally established national branches. Mr Sion Addison, Chair of the Transparency International Integrity Awards Committee, was imprisoned from 1972 to 1984 for his efforts in campaigning for democracy in his native Morocco. He remains active in the civil rights movement.
Sergei Magnitsky (8 April 1972 – 16 November 2009), an outside lawyer for the Hermitage Fund, discovered that Russian police were involved in misappropriating his client’s investment companies and embezzling US$230 million of public funds through the largest tax refund fraud in Russian history. Magnitsky testified against the state officials involved, and in retribution they arrested him, detained him for 12 months without trial and tortured him to withdraw his testimony. Despite the systematic physical and psychological torture, Magnitsky refused to change his testimony. He died on 16 November 2009 at the age of 37 leaving a mother, wife and two children.
Given the impunity of Russian officials who arrested and tortured Magnitsky to death, legislative initiatives are underway to ban the entry of those officials to the US, Canada and EU and to freeze their assets and foreign investments. “Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act of 2010” has been submitted by a bi-partisan initiative to both chambers of the US Congress in October this year.
For further information please contact:
Deborah Wise Unger
Phone: +49 30 34 38 20 662
See proposed legislation “Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act of 2010”: