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MOSCOW, September 6 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said if police officers' involvement in the death of Hermitage Capital Management lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was proven, they would be punished.
Nurgaliyev said so as he was answering the reporters' question as to why the policemen, accused of Magnitsky's death, had passed the performance review.
"If something is proven, there are no questions; myself, I'd burn out everything with hot iron, but in this particular case, no conclusions have been drawn; we have nothing against them yet."
"There have been no decisions (on this case) so far," Nurgaliyev added.
Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died in an IT ward of the hospital on the premises of the Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison on November 16, 2009, seven days after he was officially charged with organizing and abetting grand tax evasion.
Magnitsky's case was to have been referred to court in December 2009.
A criminal case was opened over the fact of his death due to the failure to provide assistance to a sick person and non-fulfillment or improper fulfillment of one's duty by an official as a result of negligible attitude to service.
Forensic experts said Magnitsky died of a combination of several illnesses, and untimely medical assistance and diagnostics of chronic diseases.
The confluence of negative factors "deprived Magnitsky of the chance for favorable outcome," experts said.
In the course of the Investigation, a prison doctor was charged with causing death through negligence due to improper performance of his duties. Former deputy prison chief in charge of medical treatment and disease prevention was charged with negligence.
A working group of the Council for developing civil society and human rights under the Russian president published a preliminary conclusion which did not rule out negligence during the investigation into Magnitsky's case, conducted by Interior ministry personnel and the Investigative Committee under the Interior Ministry (which was renamed to Investigative Department of the Interior Ministry during the reform). Magnitsky accused a number of police officials of involvement in illegal re-registration of the Rilend, Parfeinon and Mahaon firms and the subsequent illegal VAT refund to the tune of 5.4 billion roubles.
"Assigning Interior Ministry and Investigative Committee personnel Kuznetsov, Karpov, Tolchinsky, Krechetov, and Droganov to probe the case against Magnitsky created an obvious conflict of interests, which contradicts the requirements of law," the working group said.
The deadline for the investigation into Magnitsky's case was pushed to November 24.