WARSAW, December 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights took part in the questioning of defendants in the so-called Magnitsky case, Mikhail Fedotov, the Council’s head, who takes part in the second Russia-EU Civil Society Forum, told reporters here on Thursday.
“We have received an investigator’s invitation to dispatch members of the Council to take part in the questioning of defendants in the case on Magnitsky’s death,” he said. He noted that this joint work had already been done and members of the Council had taken part in the questioning. “This was an unprecedented level of openness to public scrutiny that set a very good example. We have reached agreement with chairman of the Investigation Committee Bastrykin that such practice should become norm,” Fedotov added.
He said the Council continued working on the Magnitsky case. Several working groups, including representatives of all related departments, had been set up to start working next week. “It is necessary to sort out matters, as Magnitsky’s lawyers offer argumentation to the public, and the public asks whether this is true,” he noted. “We expect to receive answers in mid-January, as the Investigation Committee intends to conclude the case by that time. But perhaps the investigation will have to be continued,” Fedotov said.
Magnitsky, the 37-year old consultant of the British “Hermitage Capital Management” fund, died in an intensive care unit of the hospital of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison on November 16, 2009 after being in custody for eleven months and seven days since he was charged with complicity in tax evasion. According to investigation, Magnitsky was not given timely medical treatment when his health sharply deteriorated.
At the special meeting on November 24 devoted to the Magnitsky case the Council signed the provision on interaction with the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation. Under the provision, the parties pledge themselves to interact in the protection of the rights and liberties of man and citizen, in the development of institutions of civil society in Russia and in refining instruments of public scrutiny over the observance of the rights and liberties of man and citizen.