The Russian Government Congratulates Officials Responsible for Sergei Magnitsky’s False Arrest, Detention and Death in Custody

April 28, 2013

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and top officials from the Russian Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and the Moscow Court publicly condoned the acts of the officials who were named by the U.S. Government for their role in the Magnitsky affair.

Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev officially greeted six of the sanctioned Interior Ministry officers in a televised meeting at the Interior Ministry headquarters where he promised them impunity and promotion prospects. The officers present were Colonel Vinogradova, Lt Colonel Silchenko and Lt Colonel Karpov, and three more sanctioned officers who were presumably Lt Colonel Kuznetsov, and his two former subordinates, operatives Droganov and Tolchinsky. According to Russian press reports, the Interior Minister said to the officials at the meeting:
“Decisions by foreign states concerning our citizens should not and will not have any legal consequence;” “I confirm again: regarding our official position, let those type of decisions not give you any worry.”

“For active employees…for career promotion or other restrictions due to the announcement of the so called acts, there will be no practical prospect…Those employees who deserve recognition due to their professional skills, will be promoted.”
Simultaneously, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov met with Ivan Prokopenko and Dmitry Komnov, the two heads of detention centers where Sergei Magnitsky was held and tortured.

“Your appearance in the sanctions list which was published by a foreign state, for you and us is a legally indifferent fact. There are no issues currently about your work. Continue to work calmly;… you do big, complex, and thankless jobs, I will repeat you must perform it with necessary effect… Nobody is going to take any measures or reprimands towards you because of accusations against you by a foreign state,” Justice Minister Konovalov said in a televised meeting.

Alongside the Saturday gatherings at the Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry, Galina Agafonova, Chair of the Council of Moscow Judges and Deputy Chair of the Moscow City Court, pledged support for the four Russian judges on the US sanctions list who approved the arrest and detention of Sergei Magnitsky and refused his applications for medical care in custody.
“The entire community of judges supports its colleagues and believes that they are absolutely right, and that we are right. And we believe that there are no grounds to continue to worry,” said Chair Agafanova in a televised interview announcing the results of the review conducted by the Council of Moscow Judges.

“We gathered the presidium of the Council of Moscow city judges, reviewed all circumstances of this debate, copies of materials of the criminal case and condemned this so called Magnitsky list, because it undeservingly cast a shadow on the authority of the judicial power and specifically on each of judges who made decisions in the case,” said Chair Agafonova.

Ms Agafonova did not mention if the Council of Moscow Judges reviewed the conclusions by experts of the President’s Human Rights Council and of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission who both concluded that the decisions of the judges were in direct violation of domestic and international laws and the Moscow city courts failed to give proper evaluation to those decisions.
Russian President Putin culminated the day by publicly denying that Mr Magnitsky was ever tortured in custody or that any Russian official should be held criminally responsible for his death. He stated that the investigation has been brought to “an end.”
“And it [the investigation in Magnitsky case] has been brought to an end. And the investigative bodies have come to the conclusion that there was no bad intent, there was no criminal negligence. But the tragedy occurred. And what, nobody dies in American prisons, or what? There was no torture, as they said, there was nothing else that required criminal prosecution of officials,” said President Vladimir Putin in a televised interview.

“The Kremlin and all official bodies of the Russian state have now formally become collaborators in the cover up of the unlawful killing of Sergei Magnitsky in Russian state custody and the $230 million theft he had uncovered,” said a Hermitage Capital representative.


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