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Magnitsky death case dropped

March 20, 2013, 11:34 UTC+3

The Investigative Committee decision caused a negative reaction from Sergei Magnitsky's relatives and human rights activists

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The Investigative Committee on Tuesday dropped the case over the death in remand ward in 2009 of auditor Sergei Magnitsky citing "a lack of the event of crime." The relatives of the deceased intend to appeal the SK's decision and seek the reopening of criminal proceedings.

The SK concluded that there had been no violations with respect to Magnitsky, a suspect in a tax evasion case. He died of acute cardiac insufficiency, the Kommersant writes. Earlier, a deputy director of the Butyrka prison – where Magnitsky had died – was acquitted, while the doctor who had treated Magnitsky was also exempted from criminal responsibility. The newspaper reminds that Sergei Magnitsky's death caused an international uproar which resulted in sanctions against several dozen Russian officials.

The SK decision caused a negative reaction from Sergei Magnitsky's relatives and human rights activists. Kirill Kabanov, a member of the presidential human rights council who was on the commission that looked into the circumstances of the auditor's death, called the SK's Tuesday decision "political," noting a connection between the sanction against Russian officials. "I did not expect it to be otherwise, after the adoption of the Magnitsky law in the USA," Kabanov said.

His colleague in the Council Valery Borshchev plans to insist on reopening the investigation, claiming that this "provocative fact threatens the observation of basic human rights."

Lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov who represents the interests of Sergei Magnitsky's mother said on Tuesday that he would protest the SK's decision without delay. "The possibility to lodge a protest is envisioned by the legislation; we'll certainly do so," he noted.

The Novye Izvestia notes that rights activists conclusions regarding the cause of Magnitsky's death in remand prison differ sharply from law-enforcers'. An analysis of the situation with the provision of medical assistance to Magnitsky shows with certainty that "he did not have proper medical assistance in the Butyrka remand prison," the Public Observer Commission /ONK/ said in a report on the Magnitsky case, "his complaints regarding therapist's examination were ignored, and doctors did not take the necessary actions to send Magnitsky to the Matrosskaya Tishina prison for a second ultrasound scan, as his illness record indicates."

After many pages of testimony given by medical personnel and prison staff, the ONK stated that "a person in custody, who finds himself in a penitentiary, cannot use all the necessary opportunities to save his life and health."

In rights activists' opinion, the Magnitsky case can be regarded as a violation of the right to life, because the conditions in certain cells at the Butyrka-2 prison can be called "torturous." The guilty persons should bear responsibility," the document said.

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