Sergei Magnitsky’s Relatives Challenge the State Authority to Appoint Defence Lawyer to Magnitsky in his Posthumous Proceedings

March 3, 2013

Ahead of tomorrow’s closed hearing at Tverskoi Court in Moscow, Sergei Magnitsky’s relatives have written a complaint to the 5th Chambers of the Moscow Bar challenging the legality of the Bar providing a lawyer to ‘defend’ Sergei Magnitsky in the posthumous trial that the family is boycotting.

In their letter addressed to the head of 5th Chambers of Moscow Bar Association Sergei Oreshkin, which received a court instruction to assign a defence lawyer to the deceased, Sergei Magnitsky’s relatives stated that the Russian law does not allow for trials of dead people and consequently the appointment of a defence lawyer for a dead person in such proceedings would be illegal. They also describe the Russian authorities attempt to pressure them to be involved in the posthumous proceedings against their will as “monstrous”.

“A lawyer is not allowed to take an instruction in case that is clearly unlawful, and to take a position against the will of the client,” says the complaint filed by lawyer for Sergei Magnitsky’s mother citing Article 6 of the Russian Law “On Attorneys Activity and Attorneys in Russia.”

“The assertion [by prosecutors that the case was initiated on the request from the relatives] is a lie. This follows from the absence in the case of applications from relatives, and the numerous (over 20) complaints against the unlawful decision of Deputy General Prosecutor Grin [to resume the case],” says the letter.

Sergei Magnitsky died in Russian police custody on 16 November 2009 with signs of injuries on his body. No one has been found guilty for his death in Russia.


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