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MOSCOW, September 28 (Itar-Tass) — Hospitalisation of two defendants in the case of the death of the auditor of the investment fund Hermitage Capital, Sergei Magnitsky, impedes the case referral to court, as the investigation against them is almost completed, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass.
According to him, the doctor of the Butyrka pre-trial detention centre where Magnitsky was held, Larisa Litvinova, and former deputy head of the detention centre Dmitry Kratov “are currently undergoing in-patient treatment at public health facilities, which hinders their participation in the investigative and other proceedings.”
“The investigative actions in the criminal case against Kratov ajd Litvinova has been almost completed and it is necessary to begin the defendants’ familiarisation with the case materials (before sending the case files to court), which cannot be done as they are undergoing hospital treatment,” the SK spokesman added.
In this regard, “the investigations checks the circumstances of detection and the severity of illness of the accused.” Currently, the investigation period has been extended until November 24.
Magnitsky, 37, charged with complicity in tax evasion, died in an intensive care ward of the hospital of the Matrosskaya Tishina (Sailor’s Rest) pre-trial detention centre on November 16, 2009 - after 11 months of detention in custody and seven days after charged were brought against him. Before the transfer to hospital he was kept in the Butyrka prison. The forensic medical examination established that he died of a combination of diseases, deficiencies in the provision of medical care and untimely diagnosis of diseases.
In this connection he could not get the timely treatment and did not received adequate therapy when in the evening of November 16, 2009 he has sharp health deterioration. This, according to experts, “deprived Magnitsky of a chance for a favourable outcome.”
Litvinova was charged under Article 109 Part 2 of the RF Criminal Code – “causing death by negligence due to improper execution of his or her professional duties” and her former supervisor, former deputy chief of the detention centre Dmitry Kratov (later he retired) – was charged under Article 293 Part 2 of the RF Criminal Code (negligence).
The guilt of Sergei Magnitsky, lawyer at the Hermitage Capital Management fund, who died in hospital of the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial jail, had been proved by the investigation, the press service of the investigative department of Russia’s Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass earlier. “Over the investigation, Sergei Magnitsky’s guilt was proved fully, this is why the pre-trial investigation presented their charges over two episodes of tax evasion,” the source said. “Similar charges are presented to the UK citizen William Felix Browder.”
The Proscutor General's Office (PGO) earlier overturned the resolution on dropping criminal proceedings against Magnitsky. PGO spokeswoman Marina Gridneva told Tass that "the decision was made after the Constitutional Court adopted a resolution on July 14 which commits investigative bodies to clarifying the relatives' attitude to dropping criminal proceedings against a diseased person for non-rehabilitating reasons." "By resuming the investigation, the PGO raised the issue -- before the Interior Ministry’s investigation department (formerly the SK Committee under the Interior Ministry which was probing Ministry’s tax evasion case) -- of reopening the probe, by the results of which the investigators should take a legal decision by taking into account Sergei Ministry’s relatives’ opinion," she said.
Meanwhile, a source at the Hermitage Capital Management fund told Tass the investigation into the criminal case against Magnitsky had been resumed without his relatives' consent. "Earlier, the criminal case against him was dropped, also without the consent of Magnitsky's relatives.
Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned at the Butyrka prison in Moscow in November 2008 after being accused of colluding with Hermitage. Held for 11 months without trial, he was denied visits from his family. He developed gall stones, pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis, for which he was given inadequate medical treatment during his incarceration. Surgery was ordered in June, but never performed; detention centre chief Ivan P. Prokopenko later indicated that he “...did not consider Magnitsky sick...Prisoners often try to pass themselves off as sick, in order to get better conditions.”
On November 16, eight days before he would have had to have been released if he were not brought to trial, Magnitsky died for reasons attributed first by prison officials as a “rupture to the abdominal membrane” and later to heart attack. It later emerged that Magnitsky had complained of worsening stomach pain for five days prior to his death and that by the 15th was vomiting every three hours, with a visibly swollen stomach. On the day of his death, the prison physician, believing he had a chronic disease, sent him by ambulance to a medical unit equipped to help him, but the surgeon there — who described Magnitsky as “agitated, trying to hide behind a bag and saying people were trying to kill him” — prescribed only a painkiller, leaving him for psychiatric evaluation. He was found dead in his cell a little over two hours later.