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MOSCOW, May 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Statements on “posthumous prosecution” of Hermitage Capital Management auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who was charged with tax evasion and who died in an investigation prison, border on interference in Russia’s internal affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
“Some politicians and representatives of executive and legislative agencies in foreign countries have lately been actively exploiting the topic of Magnitsky’s ‘posthumous prosecution’ for accusing Russia of violating the principles of democracy, rule of law and its human rights obligations,” he said on Monday, May 21.
Moscow “deeply regrets” such statements and actions. “The juggling of facts and broad interpretation of international and national laws that deliberately distort their meaning and border on interference in the internal affairs of our country have nothing to do with the declared ‘concern for human rights and rule of law in Russia’. Attempts to exert pressure on Russian investigative and judicial bodies are unacceptable to us,” Lukashevich said.
“Under the Russian Constitution, man, his rights and freedoms are the highest value, and it is the duty of the state to recognise, ensure and protect those rights and freedoms,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday, May 21.
“Each person charged with a crime is deemed innocent until his guilt is proved and determined by a court ruling that has entered into force,” he said.
“The constitutional right to protection of one’s dignity operates not only during a person’s life but also after his death. Protection of the dignity and good name of a deceased person as well as the rights and legitimate interests of his close relatives is connected first of all with his possible rehabilitation,” the spokesman said.
According to the Constitutional Court’s resolution of June 14, 2011, “a criminal case in connection with the death of a suspect (defendant) without the consent of his close relatives may be terminated on rehabilitating grounds only”, Lukashevich said.
“Otherwise, it will be transferred to court for examination on general terms,” he added.
Pursuant to the Constitutional Court ruling, the Prosecutor General’s Office cancelled the resolution on the termination of the criminal case against Magnitsky.
The situation where the “Magnitsky case is used as a pretext for political speculation and initiatives proposing some sanctions against Russia” are unacceptable, Lukashevich said.
“We hope that our foreign partners will make correct conclusions and will refrain from actions and statements that could influence the outcome of the Sergei Magnitsky case examination,” he said.
Magnitsky, a 37-year-old attorney of the British investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, was charged with assisting in tax evasion. He died at the intensive care unit of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison infirmary on November 16, 2009, eleven months after he was taken into custody and seven days after he was indicted. Detectives said that Magnitsky was not given therapy on time.