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:

Trans­parency International

http://www.transparency.org.uk/

Bangkok:
Sophie Brown
Email: sbrown@transparency.org
Phone: +66(0)859184171

Berlin:
Deb­o­rah Wise Unger
Email: press@transparency.org
Phone: +49 30 34 38 20 662

See pro­posed leg­is­la­tion “Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky Act of 2010”:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.3881:

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