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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

Sergei,
You can’t pass away from the peo­ple who know
Sergei,
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
Sergei,
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

Sergei,
You can’t pass away from the peo­ple who know
Sergei,
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
Sergei,
Every­one on Earth will remem­ber the name
Sergei
Sergei



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…)



Canadian Parliament Introduces Visa Sanctions Legislation for Russian Officials Implicated in Magnitsky Case

October 31, 2011

Press Release

For Imme­di­ate Distribution

Cana­dian Par­lia­ment Intro­duces Visa Sanc­tions Leg­is­la­tion for Russ­ian Offi­cials Impli­cated in Mag­nit­sky Case

31 Octo­ber 2011 – Rt. Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP and a for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter of Canada, has intro­duced a new piece of leg­is­la­tion in the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment in the high-profile case of Sergei Mag­nit­sky, an anti-corruption lawyer who was tor­tured to death in Russ­ian custody.

The new draft leg­is­la­tion would require the Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment to deny entry to the Russ­ian offi­cials in the Mag­nit­sky case and their fam­ily mem­bers. These visa sanc­tions have been trig­gered by the impunity of these offi­cials in Rus­sia two years after the Magnitsky’s death in custody.

Rt. Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP, who pre­vi­ously acted as defense lawyer for pris­on­ers of con­science Nel­son Man­dela and Nathan Sha­ran­sky, said at the intro­duc­tion of the Bill:

The ongo­ing impunity, and indeed, in this instance shock­ing impunity regard­ing Russ­ian offi­cials is as scan­dalous as it is shock­ing. This leg­is­la­tion will uphold the rule of law, will assure Russ­ian human rights defend­ers that they are not alone, will pro­tect Cana­dian busi­ness inter­ests in Rus­sia, and in par­tic­u­lar will remem­ber and hon­our the heroic sac­ri­fice of Sergei Mag­nit­sky. He acted on behalf of all of us in his pro­tec­tion of the rule of law.”

The Russ­ian offi­cials in the Mag­nit­sky case have already been banned from entry to the USA by U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton. Sim­i­lar visa sanc­tions are cur­rently under­way across the EU fol­low­ing a res­o­lu­tion adopted last year by the Euro­pean Parliament.

The Cana­dian Bill enti­tled “An Act to Con­demn Cor­rup­tion and Impunity in Rus­sia in the Case and Death of Sergei Mag­nit­sky” was intro­duced last Fri­day. (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=5209506&file=4)

The Bill bans from enter­ing or remain­ing in Canada those Russ­ian offi­cials who were involved in the $230 mil­lion tax rebate fraud that Mr. Mag­nit­sky had uncov­ered, those involved in his wrong­ful arrest, tor­ture and death in deten­tion, and those involved in the sub­se­quent cover up of the com­plicit offi­cials . It imposes sanc­tions on the listed indi­vid­u­als and their fam­ily members.

Rt. Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP, said:

The Bill notes that no objec­tive offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion has been con­ducted by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment into the Mag­nit­sky case, despite exten­sive doc­u­mented evi­dence incrim­i­nat­ing Russ­ian offi­cials in seri­ous human rights vio­la­tions, in the embez­zle­ment of funds from the Russ­ian trea­sury, and in the retal­i­a­tion against Mr. Mag­nit­sky, nor have the indi­vid­ual per­sons been iden­ti­fied, appre­hended and brought to jus­tice in Rus­sia.” (see speech by Rt. Hon. Cotler at: http://openparliament.ca/bills/41 – 1/C-339/).

On July 5, 2011, the Russ­ian President’s Human Rights Coun­cil issued its find­ings on the Mag­nit­sky case, which con­cluded that Sergei Mag­nit­sky had been arrested and detained in breach of the Euro­pean Human Rights con­ven­tion and pros­e­cuted ille­gally by the Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials with a clear con­flict of inter­est. The report high­lighted that before his arrest, Sergei Mag­nit­sky had given a tes­ti­mony about the involve­ment of his arrest­ing offi­cers in the theft of Her­mitage Fund com­pa­nies and $230 mil­lion that these com­panied had paid in taxes to the Russ­ian government.

Instead of pros­e­cut­ing the offi­cials named by the Human Rights Coun­cil for the false arrest of Mr. Mag­nit­sky on trumped-up charges and the $230 mil­lion theft he had uncov­ered, Russ­ian author­i­ties responded on 30 July 2011 by open­ing a pros­e­cu­tion against Mr. Mag­nit­sky despite he had been dead for nearly two years. The same Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials who arrested and pros­e­cuted Mr. Mag­nit­sky to silence him, were appointed to the posthu­mous case against him. As part of this case, in August and Sep­tem­ber 2011, Mr. Magnitsky’s rel­a­tives were sum­moned for ques­tion­ing as witnesses.

On 4 Octo­ber 2011, 53 rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe from 29 coun­tries have co-signed the “Sergei Mag­nit­sky Case” Dec­la­ra­tion No.49 which urges Rus­sia to imme­di­ately pros­e­cute the killers of Sergei Mag­nit­sky and cease the intim­i­da­tion of his family.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

Her­mitage Cap­i­tal
Tel: +44 207 440 17 77
Email: info@lawandorderinrussia.org
Web­site: http://lawandorderinrussia.org

Face­book: http://on.fb.me/hvIuVI
Twit­ter: @KatieFisher__
Live­jour­nal: http://hermitagecap.livejournal.com/



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