// In The Press

Russian Investigative Committee Refuses Application from Magnitsky’s Mother to Bring to Account Those Responsible for Use of Rubber Batons on her Son in Detention

January 16, 2015

The Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee has refused the appli­ca­tion from Sergei Magnitsky’s mother to bring to account those respon­si­ble for the use of rub­ber batons on her son before his death in detention.

Mr Veseliev, Deputy head of sec­tion of the Main Inves­tiga­tive Depart­ment of the Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, stated in refus­ing the appli­ca­tion that the deci­sion to ter­mi­nate the inves­ti­ga­tion was based on “the col­lec­tion of gath­ered evi­dence” and “was checked by the head of the inves­tiga­tive body and pros­e­cu­tor, no grounds to change the deci­sion were found.” The decree does not pro­vide any con­crete ground in rela­tion to the deci­sion not to inves­ti­gate the use of rub­ber batons.
The appli­ca­tion from Magnitsky’s mother stated that the use of rub­ber batons was con­firmed by the post-mortem med­ical exam­i­na­tion, yet the inves­ti­ga­tion closed the crim­i­nal case into Magnitsky’s death with­out bring­ing to account those respon­si­ble. Her appli­ca­tion said:

request to con­duct full probe by inves­tiga­tive means into the use of spe­cial means – metal­lic hand­cuffs and rub­ber batons — on 16 Novem­ber 2009 at the time when he [Mag­nit­sky] was deliv­ered in grave con­di­tion to Matrosskaya Tishina deten­tion cen­ter for the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing him with emer­gency med­ical care.”

Sergei Mag­nit­sky died on 16 Novem­ber 2009. Despite the con­clu­sions from four inde­pen­dent expert exam­i­na­tions that he was tor­tured in deten­tion, the Russ­ian Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee has refused to investigate.

Russ­ian Inves­ti­ga­to­roftheIn­ves­tiga­tiveCom­mit­tee­An­dreiStrizhov, who closed the Mag­nit­sky death case investigation,andDeputyGeneralProsecutorofRussiaVictorGrin, the over­see­ing­pros­e­cu­tor, were both­sanc­tionedby the US Gov­ern­ment attheend­ofDe­cem­ber 2014 fortheir­rolein con­ceal­ing the legal lia­bil­ity of per­sons respon­si­ble for Magnitsky’s ill-treatment and death, in accor­dance with the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012

Russia is Preparing for a Showdown at Interpol to Seek the Arrest of William Browder – CEO of Hermitage Capital & Leader of Magnitsky Justice Campaign for the 3rd time

November 17, 2014

As the world marks the fifth anniver­sary of the mur­der in Russ­ian police cus­tody of Her­mitage Capital’s lawyer, Sergei Mag­nit­sky, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment is push­ing Inter­pol to arrest William Brow­der, CEO of Her­mitage and leader of the Mag­nit­sky Jus­tice campaign.

The deci­sion on Mr Brow­der will be a test case for the new lead­er­ship at Inter­pol.  Mr Jür­gen Stock from the Ger­man Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police was elected on 7 Novem­ber 2014 as Interpol’s new Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, replac­ing US rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron Noble (http://www.interpol.int/About-INTERPOL/Structure-and-governance/J%C3%BCrgen-Stock), and for­mer Croa­t­ian judge Nina Vajić was appointed as chair to Interpol’s Com­mis­sion for Con­trol of Files in Sep­tem­ber 2014, replac­ing for­mer Irish Data Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner Billy Hawkes (http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2014/N2014-165).

Interpol’s Com­mis­sion for Con­trol of Files will be decid­ing on the Russ­ian government’s third Red Notice appli­ca­tion for Brow­der at the meet­ing on Novem­ber 20th - 21st 2014 at the Inter­pol head­quar­ters in Lyon. The Inter­pol Com­mis­sion rejected Russia’s pre­vi­ous two appli­ca­tions for Brow­der as “pre­dom­i­nantly polit­i­cal” and con­trary to Interpol’s Constitution.

Rus­sia has clearly dis­re­garded Interpol’s two pre­vi­ous deci­sions on Mr Browder’s case as polit­i­cal, and con­tin­ues to press Inter­pol on the basis of a bar­baric posthu­mous trial and doc­u­ments pre­pared by Russ­ian offi­cials in the Mag­nit­sky case who have been sanc­tioned in the West,” said a Her­mitage Cap­i­tal representative.

The Browder-led Mag­nit­sky jus­tice cam­paign has been cred­ited with suc­cess­fully impos­ing US visa and finan­cial sanc­tions on Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials and judges respon­si­ble for Sergei Magnitsky’s arrest, ill-treatment and death in custody.

Now Rus­sia is press­ing Inter­pol to arrest Mr Brow­der on the basis of the Russ­ian case orga­nized by those same sanc­tioned Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials and judges. The case has been ongo­ing for many years, and has been high­lighted by the Coun­cil of Europe as emblem­atic of polit­i­cally moti­vated abuses of the jus­tice sys­tem in Russia.

Russia’s third request to Inter­pol for Browder’s arrest is based on that same case, which cul­mi­nated last year in Rus­sia with the con­vic­tions of Sergei Mag­nit­sky posthu­mously and Mr Brow­der in absen­tia as “co-conspirators” in the first-ever posthu­mous trial in Russ­ian his­tory.  It is only the sec­ond posthu­mous trial in Euro­pean his­tory, since the 897 Cadaver Synod when Pope For­mo­sus’ remains were dug out of the ground to face charges after a ver­dict by Pope Stephen VI that the deceased had been unwor­thy of the pontificate.

Today’s equiv­a­lent of Pope Stephen VI is Russ­ian judge Igor Alisov. He presided over the posthu­mous trial of Sergei Mag­nit­sky and in absen­tia trial against Brow­der in July 2013, and one month later he was pro­moted by Russia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.  In May 2014, Judge Alisov was placed on the Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list by the US Government.

Judge Elena Stashina is another Russ­ian judge involved in the posthumous/in absen­tia pro­ceed­ings against Mag­nit­sky and Brow­der. Under the same case, she signed the arrest war­rant for Mr Brow­der and ear­lier for Mr Mag­nit­sky. Serv­ing as the Tver­skoi dis­trict judge in Moscow when Sergei Mag­nit­sky was alive, she rejected his com­plaints about cruel treat­ment and vio­la­tions of his rights, and extended his deten­tion with­out trial just four days before he was killed.

Judge Stashina has also been sanc­tioned by the US Gov­ern­ment under the “Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012.”

This week it will be up to Interpol’s Com­mis­sion, led by Ms Vajic with four spe­cial­ists from Canada, France, Turkey, and Mau­ri­tius, to decide whether to uphold Interpol’s two pre­vi­ous rejec­tions of the Russ­ian request, or to approve the request, using the posthu­mous trial as the basis for that change in posi­tion.  The lat­est Russ­ian request forms part of the Russ­ian state’s polit­i­cal attack against Mr Brow­der, which has been ongo­ing for sev­eral years.

Statement by Bill Browder on 5th Anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s Killing in Russia

November 16, 2014

Dear Friends and supporters,

 Today marks the 5th anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s killing in Russ­ian police custody.

Sergei was my lawyer who was mur­dered because he exposed one of the largest gov­ern­ment cor­rup­tion schemes in Russ­ian his­tory. After he tes­ti­fied against the police offi­cers involved, he was arrested by the same offi­cers and was then sys­tem­at­i­cally tor­tured for 358 days. On Novem­ber 16, 2009 he went into crit­i­cal con­di­tion and instead of being treated, he was put in an iso­la­tion cell and beaten by eight riot guards with rub­ber batons until he was dead at the age of 37.

When I learned of Sergei’s death, it was the worst news I had ever received in my life. It was like a knife going into my heart and I made a vow to myself, his fam­ily and his mem­ory that I would get jus­tice for him. For five years, I have tried to get that jus­tice, but the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has used every tool at their dis­posal to thwart me. They claimed Sergei was never tor­tured and he died of nat­ural causes. They claimed that he never uncov­ered or exposed a crime, but was the one guilty of one. And most shock­ingly, they exon­er­ated every sin­gle Russ­ian state employee involved in spite of a moun­tain of doc­u­men­tary evi­dence to the contrary.

 It became clear to me that there was no pos­si­bil­ity of jus­tice inside of Rus­sia so I sought jus­tice out­side of Rus­sia and have advo­cated for sanc­tions against the peo­ple who killed Sergei in many coun­tries in the West. Three years after Sergei’s death, the US gov­ern­ment signed the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act impos­ing visa sanc­tions and asset freezes on those involved in Sergei’s death as well as other human rights vio­la­tions. Sim­i­lar sanc­tions are being con­sid­ered by gov­ern­ments in Europe as well.

 Putin and his gov­ern­ment have become infu­ri­ated at the global reac­tion to Sergei’s case and have lashed out in all sorts of ways. Shortly after the Mag­nit­sky Act was passed, Putin banned US adop­tions of dis­abled Russ­ian chil­dren. In 2013, more than three years after Sergei died, they put him on trial in the first ever posthu­mous trial in the his­tory of Rus­sia. They also put me on trial in absen­tia as his co-defendant and sen­tenced me to nine years.

 When I first started this cam­paign, many peo­ple thought that what hap­pened to Sergei was some kind of anom­aly. They said “this is a sad story, but prob­a­bly a one-off”, but as time has gone by, more and more cases like this have sur­faced and it’s becom­ing obvi­ous to every­one that Rus­sia is a crim­i­nal state tak­ing inno­cent peo­ple hostage and doing hor­rific things to them. The most recent actions in Ukraine make it clear to even the most ardent Russ­ian apol­o­gists that Rus­sia is engag­ing in all sorts of atroc­i­ties and brazenly cov­er­ing them up.

What hap­pened to Sergei is now a global sym­bol of every­thing that is wrong with Rus­sia, from the actual crime of what they did to Sergei to the high level cover-up to the threats against me and oth­ers seek­ing jus­tice. Despite the many hor­rific threats and all the mis­in­for­ma­tion Rus­sia is spew­ing out in this case, I won’t back down in my call for jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky and nei­ther will those close to him.  We will not stop until the peo­ple who tor­tured and killed Sergei are prop­erly brought to justice.

Thank you for your con­tin­ued sup­port on this impor­tant mission.

Two Minute Tribute Song on YouTube to Mark 5th Anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s Murder in Russian Police Custody

November 16, 2014

Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 3.06.48 PM

We Remem­ber You


To com­mem­o­rate the fifth anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in Russ­ian police cus­tody, please join us by watch­ing a short song on YouTube devoted to Sergei’s life and his sac­ri­fice (LINK to Song).

Sergei Mag­nit­sky was a 37-year old Russ­ian anti-corruption lawyer who uncov­ered a $230 mil­lion fraud per­pe­trated by Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials and organ­ised crim­i­nals. After he impli­cated Russ­ian police offi­cers in the crime, he was arrested by the very same offi­cers, tor­tured and bru­tally killed at Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial deten­tion cen­ter in Moscow on 16 Novem­ber 2009.

The Mag­nit­sky music video goes on to show poignant images of Rus­sians protest­ing against the impunity in the Mag­nit­sky case car­ry­ing posters: “Fight­ing Cor­rup­tion Can Kill”; “Putin is not Rus­sia”, “Our Free­dom Can’t Be Taken Away”, “I Will Fight for My Rights.”

Screen shot 2014-11-16 at 2.28.51 PM

Russ­ian Civil Rights Activists in Mag­nit­sky Protests in Moscow


Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 3.13.08 PM

The Mag­nit­sky music video also presents images of a young Sergei Mag­nit­sky, and of his rest­ing place at a Moscow cemetery.

The video con­cludes with a photo of Sergei on hol­i­day with his friends and the by-line: “Russ­ian hero.”

While the killing of Sergei Mag­nit­sky has ignited world­wide con­dem­na­tion and lead to numer­ous polit­i­cal and legal calls for jus­tice around the globe, five years on there has still been no jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky in Rus­sia. Instead, he him­self was posthu­mously pros­e­cuted in the first posthu­mous trial in the his­tory of Rus­sia, with the judge pre­sid­ing at the trial imme­di­ately pro­moted by Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. The Russ­ian author­i­ties also last year closed the inves­ti­ga­tion into his death find­ing “no sign of crime,” and refused all appli­ca­tions from Sergei Magnitsky’s mother to reopen the inves­ti­ga­tion into the evi­dence of his tor­ture and murder.

On Fri­day, the US State Depart­ment released a state­ment on the eve of the fifth anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death which says:

“Despite widely-publicized, cred­i­ble evi­dence of crim­i­nal con­duct result­ing in Magnitskiy’s death, Russ­ian author­i­ties have failed to bring to jus­tice those respon­si­ble. We remain con­cerned about impunity for this crime and the atmos­phere of intim­i­da­tion for those who work to uncover cor­rup­tion or human rights abuses in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion. On the fifth anniver­sary of Magnitskiy’s death, we con­tinue to call for full account­abil­ity for those respon­si­ble for his unjust impris­on­ment and wrong­ful death and we will con­tinue to fully sup­port the efforts of those in Rus­sia who seek to bring these indi­vid­u­als to jus­tice, includ­ing through imple­men­ta­tion of the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012.” (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/11/234094.htm)

Sergei Magnitsky’s case and the impunity of the Russ­ian offi­cials involved have become a sym­bol of the cor­rup­tion and fail­ing jus­tice sys­tem in Rus­sia, and of the abuse of the rights of its cit­i­zens who chal­lenge the authorities.

The Sergei Mag­nit­sky trib­ute song was writ­ten by a song­writer Samuel Smith, and recorded as a result of a request made on www.movements.org, a crowd-sourcing plat­form for human rights activists around the world. The video directed by Alexan­dra Ageeva has been cre­ated by Russ­ian civic rights activists, includ­ing Pussy Riot, who con­ducted a series of one-person protest actions around Moscow this summer.

Trib­ute to Sergei Mag­nit­sky five years after his death by Russ­ian civil soci­ety activists

Tweet and pass along (LINK to Song)

Softly spo­ken, words bleed the truth
And help dis­cover the bro­ken and con­fused
The fight for jus­tice and the path of one man
Bring new begin­nings and take down cor­rupt plans

You can’t pass away from the peo­ple who know
Your words lead the way for the world to go

You didn’t lose your life in vain
Every­one on Earth will remem­ber the name
Every­one on Earth will remem­ber the name

Jailed for the words that he spoke
His name lives on
In the name of the music and the folks
Who fail to for­get that rulers need
To show respect to the peo­ple they lead

You can’t pass away from the peo­ple who know
Your words lead the way for the world to go

You didn’t lose your life in vain -
Every­one on Earth will remem­ber the name
Every­one on Earth will remem­ber the name

European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Adopts First European Magnitsky List with 32 Names

March 18, 2014

Today the For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment adopted a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for tar­geted asset freezes and visa sanc­tions on 32 indi­vid­u­als in the Mag­nit­sky case in Europe. (more…)

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