Magnitsky’s Mother Slams the Government’s Cover-Up in Prosecution of Prison Doctor Kratov

October 2, 2012

Natalia Magnitskaya, the mother of the late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, today called on the Russian court to accept new evidence showing the complicity of a large group of Russian law enforcement officials in the torture and killing of her son, and to send the case back to prosecutors.

In her testimony at the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow this morning, Mrs. Magnitskaya gave evidence that the indictment issued by Russian investigators against Dmitry Kratov, a former deputy head of Butyrka prison, does not contain certain critical factual and documentary evidence linking other officials to the crime against her son. Under the Russian criminal procedural code, the court is bound by the scope of the indictment in issuing its sentence and this ommision by the prosecutors would lead to a drastically more lenient sentence.

In her court testimony against Kratov, Natalia Magnitskaya made the following statements:
“In accordance with the law, the victim is entitled to represent and support the prosecution, but in this situation, I am deprived of this right because I cannot support this accusation – the information contained in the case files available to the investigators make it clear that Dmitry Kratov was not the only culprit as the indictment suggests. In these circumstances I ask the court to make the only possible just and lawful decision – to return this criminal case back to the prosecutor and re-open the investigation in light of the new factual circumstances identified by my representative and which the indictment does not include.”

Judge Neverova refused the petition on the grounds that a similar petition had previously been refused from Mrs. Magnitskaya’s lawyer.
“Last time I saw my son alive in the Tverskoi District Court, there were no signs of his fatal condition. That was four days before his death… Who will tell me the truth, what happened to my son during these 4 days? It is in these days and the last hours of his life, which was confirmed by experts, that Sergei suffered injuries from violence,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

“My son died not on a deserted street, and not in a dark hallway, he died in a state facility in the presence of many witnesses, and such witnesses were not prisoners, but they were the state officials, doctors and security guards. However, the investigation has been conducted for almost three years by now, and is still very far from completion,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

Mrs. Magnitskaya drew attention to the role of the head of Butyrka detention, Mr Komnov, and his deputy in charge of operational and intelligence activities in custody, Mr Gorchakov, neither of whom have been charged, and instead these officials will be called as witnesses for the prosecution.

“The head of Butyrka detention center Mr Komnov and his deputy Mr. Gorchakov were both responsible for establishing torturous conditions for my son by arranging for numerous illegal transfers between different cells in Butyrka detention center, however, no charges have been brought in relation to them and they now have been invited to the court as witnesses,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

Mrs. Magnitskaya also noted the role of officials at Matrosskaya Tishina detention center and doctor on duty, Alexandra Gaus, who left Magnitsky without any supervision for over an hour when detention center guards used handcuffs and rubber batons on Magnitsky.

“Without any doubt, direct responsibility for the torture of my son and for his brutal murder stays with Dr. Gaus and she should be held criminally liable for this. Despite all of this, investigator Mrs Lomonosova of the Investigative Committee and Deputy Prosecutor General Grin called her to the court as a witness for the prosecution. There have been no changes brought for the committed crime in relation to Dr. Gaus or her accomplices,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

Mrs. Magnitskaya recounted her meeting with Dmitry Kratov two months before her son’s death when she requested him to provide medical treatment for her son which he had been systematically denied in custody.
“Based on my personal meeting with Mr Kratov in September 2009, i.e. two months before the death of my son, I have every reason to state that Mr Kratov knew and was aware that by his criminal actions and omission, torturous conditions were created for my son. He was part of this conspiracy and therefore fulfilled his role in the torture of Sergei,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

“A young, healthy man who had no medical history in local clinics after being in custody for about a year became sick and had an incredible large number of fatal illnesses…Less than a year after the arrest, state representatives asked me to pick up my son’s mangled body from the morgue, doing it in a way that I was unable to have an independent medical examination of the causes of his death,” added Mrs. Magnitskaya.

Mrs Magnitskaya also highlighted the role of the senior leadership of the Interior Ministry and high ranking officials from the Russian penal system in organizing Magnitsky’s six transfers between detention centers in less than a year.

“Maybe Investigator Silchenko, acting now as “witness for the prosecution”, will be able to explain what his motives were when he signed an illegal decree requesting to execute the forceful delivery of my son to him? On November 24, 2008 the state officials who were the members of investigation group of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Interior Ministry, Mr Ryabinin, Mr Droganov and Mr Krechtov came to my son’s apartment and took him away – young and healthy – forever from his family under a pretext of a criminal case brought by investigator Karpov and the FSB officials,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

“Maybe Investigator Silchenko will be able to tell us why my son was transferred six times between different detention facilities within less than one year. Decisions on each such transfers were taken at the federal level, personally by acting Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Lt-general Petrukhin, his deputy General Semeniuk, with direct participation of the Deputy Chief of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Interior Ministry General Logunov and investigator of this committee Mr Silchenko… In total, during his illegal detention, my son was transferred between different cells at least twenty-one times, some transfers were conducted during nights,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

“Sergei died due to violence and torturous conditions that were specifically created for him. This is confirmed by documentary evidence which those who were involved in his death will not be able to hide,” said Mrs. Magnitskaya.

Sergei Magnitsky, an outside lawyer for the Hermitage Fund, was killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37 after he exposed the $230 million theft implicating government officials. He was honored posthumously with 2010 Integrity Award by Transparency International, for his fight against official corruption.


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