Diplomatic Representatives of Five European Countries Say Posthumous Trial of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia is “Unacceptable”

April 23, 2013

Diplomatic representatives of five European countries have expressed concern over the on-going posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky, killed in Russian police custody three years ago, and the recent closure of the investigation into his death in Russia (http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/brieven/2013/03/18/brief-over-de-opstelling-van-rusland-in-de-zaak-magnitsky/brief-over-de-opstelling-van-rusland-in-de-zaak-magnitsky.pdf).

In a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, five permanent representatives from the UK, Germany, Holland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic have asked for the Magnitsky case to be raised with Russia authorities.

“His posthumous trial, albeit recently postponed, is an unacceptable attempt to damage the reputation of a man who is not able to defend himself, and to cause harm to his family,” said European diplomats.

In their letter, Matthew Johnson for the UK, Julius Georg Luy for Germany, Ellen Berends for Holland, Carl Ehrenkrona for Sweden and Tomas Bocek for Czech, on behalf of ministers of foreign affairs, said that the failure of the Russian authorities to secure justice for Mr Magnitsky “is being interpreted as symbolic of the failings of Russia’s judicial system.”

The letter was sent the day after the Russian authorities announced that they had closed the investigation into Mr Magnitsky’s death on the ground that “no crime” was identified.

The European diplomats stressed that the General Secretary of the Council of Europe had already expressed to the Russian authorities the “concern at the absence of any meaningful progress towards securing justice for Mr Magnitsky and his family, more than three years after his death in pre-trial detention.”

They have encouraged General Secretary Thorbjørn Jagland to “continue to raise the case…to express the importance of bringing this case to a thorough conclusion, explaining that doing so would demonstrate a positive signal for the future of human rights and democracy in Russia.”

The Council of Europe comprises 47 countries, including Russia. Its seeks to develop common and democratic principles throughout Europe, based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.

Mr Thorbjørn Jagland is the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, and the 13th Secretary General of the Council of Europe, elected to the post in 2009.


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