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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