Head of the Russian State Investigative Committee Refuses to Open an Investigation into the Torture of Sergei Magnitsky, Fears Scrutiny by the “Man in the Street”

March 17, 2011

Citing the “complexity of medical issues” which the “man on the street” is unable to comprehend, Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Russian State Investigative Committee, yesterday refused to open an investigation into the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old lawyer for Hermitage Fund while in Interior Ministry custody. Mr. Bastrykin announced this position at a public speech in St. Petersburg.

The State Investigative Committee has issued this refusal despite calls from Russian and international human rights activists and a growing international consensus among both governments and activists that the Magnitsky case must be investigated. The State Investigative Committee also intends to withhold from public inspection the results of the ongoing investigation into the denial of medical care to Magnitsky in the final months of his life.

“Mr Bastrykin yesterday tried to present the Magnitsky case as a complex medical matter while in fact this case is simply about the torture and inhuman treatment of a young man in custody which resulted in his death,” said a Hermitage Capital representative. “For months Magnitsky was deprived of sleep, access to clean water and hot food, transferred numerous times between cells at night, denied visits of his family and young children, denied prescribed surgery, ultrasound and even simple lab tests and on his last day was left to die on the cell floor for several hours with no doctor present. These are not matters that are difficult to understand. In fact, they are matters that have earned the sympathy of everyone who hears Magnitsky’s tragic story. It appears that Mr Bastrykin is afraid of public scrutiny over this case and the government’s failure to bring anyone to justice 16 months after Sergei died.”

Last March, Ludmila Alexeeva, the Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group wrote to Mr Bastrykin requesting that the State Investigative Committee open a criminal investigation into the unlawful arrest and torture of Magnitsky by the very Interior Ministry officers whom Magnitsky implicated in his testimony describing the theft of $230 million of public funds (http://www.rian.ru/tvsociety/20100422/225594848.html).

One year later, the State Investigative Committee still refuses to acknowledge that Magnitsky was tortured in custody. Instead, the Interior Ministry officers named in Ms Alexeeva’s complaint remain in office and have been promoted.

In December 2010, REDRESS, an international NGO assisting victims of torture, applied to the UN Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges requesting that they investigate the torture of Magnitsky. In its request, REDRESS emphasized that high-level Russian government officials were responsible for Magnitsky’s persecution and any investigation must be free from their interference.



No Comments Yet.

Got something to say?

  • Link

Hermitage TV

Visit “Stop the Untouchables” site

For more information please visit http://russian-untouchables.com site..