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Sergei Magnitsky may be convicted posthumously

February 08, 2012, 12:19 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

The investigation department of the Interior Ministry completed the investigation in a high-profile criminal case over tax evasion. The defendants in this criminal case are Director General of the Hermitage Capital investment foundation William Browder and an auditor of this company Sergei Magnitsky. On Tuesday, the investigation department stated that Magnitsky, who died at the Moscow detention centre in 2009, can face trial and found guilty. The persecution in this scandalous criminal case can be terminated only if the relatives refuse to protect the honour and dignity of the deceased man.

After Sergei Magnitsky’s death in November 2009 the investigation was terminated against him, Kommersant recalled. But then in July 2011 the Constitutional Court resumed the criminal case against the auditor and combined it with the criminal case against Browder, because the Constitutional Court cancelled the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, which permitted the investigators and the courts to terminate criminal cases over the death of suspects and defendants without the consent of their relatives.

“The position of legal representatives of  Magnitsky's defendant (his widow Natalia Zharikova and his mother Natalia Magnitskaya) who did not agree with the termination of the criminal case, entails the need to assess the results of the investigation in court, where the court can find the defendant guilty,” a source in the investigation department of the Interior Ministry elaborated to the newspaper.

The Hermitage Capital Foundation, where Sergei Magnitsky worked as an auditor, claimed that Magnitsky’s relatives received a letter from an investigator Boris Kibis, which said that after lawyers studied the case files the detectives “are ready to bring Sergei Magnitsky’s criminal case to court for his posthumous conviction, as well as conviction in absentia for Hermitage Capital Management Director General William Browder,” Novye Izvestia writes. Meanwhile, “if the relatives lack the interest, which justifies further trial, including the intention to protect the honour and dignity of the deceased man, the detective can terminate the criminal case.”

On Monday,  Browder and Magnitsky's lawyers are summoned on February 8 to make up a protocol confirming the end of the preliminary investigation, Kommersant reports. “We will not study the case files, because we believe that investigation was resumed illegally,” a lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov, who represents the interests of Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, said to the newspaper. The detectives are seeking their way to make Magnitsky’s relatives agree to the termination of the criminal persecution against the latter by not rehabilitating him in order to legalize his illegal arrest post factum and the falsification of the criminal case against him.

The trial against the deceased man, as those guilty of his death  who were not punished, will look like as a sophisticated victimization of the memory of the deceased man and his relatives, Vedomosti noted. According to many experienced lawyers and law enforcers, they did not have to deal with the criminal persecution of the deceased people or their defence. The trials, in which people dying long before the trial were accused of crimes, were characteristic for the Inquisition times or the Stalinist epoch (for instance, the criminal case over a conspiracy in the Red Army of the criminal case against the doctors). The only exception is the rehabilitation trials, when the criminal cases were retried due to new circumstances, the newspaper said in an editorial article.

The problem is not only in the moral aspect of a forthcoming trial, the newspaper noted. Legal grounds to pass criminal cases to court, in which a living and deceased person are simultaneously accused more than two years ago, sound disputable. Such cases are usually separated for the soonest termination of the persecution against the deceased man.


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