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PRESS RELEASES

16.03.2012

On the Magnitsky case

1. The Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation has completed the investigation of the criminal case in relation to two staff members of the Butyrskaya pre-trial detention centre – the physician who treated Sergey Magnitsky and the Deputy Warden for Medical and Preventive Treatment. In accordance with their respective roles, they were charged with crimes stipulated in para 2 Article 109 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Negligent homicide owing to the improper discharge by a person of his/her professional duties) and para 2 Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Neglegence).

According to the procedural materials, the physician repeatedly ignored numerous health complaints of Sergey Magnitsky, failed to conduct diagnosis and prescribe necessary treatment. In his turn, the Deputy Warden failed to monitor the actions of the medical staff and failed to pay proper attention to requests of the patient. Sergey Magnitsky died of acute heart failure resulting from his severe medical condition.

At present, the investigation of the mentioned criminal case in relation to the two staff members of the pre-trial detention centre has been completed. Since October 2011, the injured party and their representatives have been being familiarized with materials of the case and this work is still under way. It is being planned that a bill of indictment will soon be submitted for signing followed by its referral to the court.

Yet taking into consideration the inquiries of the injured party and their representatives, the Investigation Committee has decided to initiate an expert investigation within the framework of the inquest into the death of Sergey Magnitsky. The investigation is to establish whether the circumstances of Mr Magnitsky’s confinement may be viewed as torture in terms of criminal law. Besides that, it is also necessary to verify the materials obtained from the Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation in December 2011 containing arguments made by NGOs concerning indications of other crimes allegedly committed by officials in relation to Sergey Magnitsky’s death, both in the process of his prosecution and on the day of his death at the Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility. For these reasons, the period of investigation carried out by the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation has been prolonged till 24 April 2012.

It is worth mentioning that, considering this tragic event and other similar facts, a number of amendments have been introduced into the Russian legislation in order to limit instances of imprisonment of persons who are accused of crimes in the sphere of entrepreneurial activity. A list of medical conditions providing relief from imprisonment has been officially enacted, and procedures of independent medical commissions assessing the state of health of persons kept under arrest have been prescribed.

2. In accordance with general rules of the Russian penal legislation, a criminal investigation is discontinued in case of death of the accused person.

However, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has recently decided that such a criminal investigation may be resumed or continued in case the person’s relatives insist on his posthumous rehabilitation. According to the information available, this is precisely what the mother of Sergey Magnitsky and his advocates insist on.

In this connection, the court is the only authority to decide on rehabilitation of Sergey Magnitsky or discontinuation of this criminal case “on account of the death of the defendant”. Russian law does not envisage conviction of a deceased person.

Thus, allegations of a posthumous prosecution of Sergey Magnitsky spread by the Hermitage Capital investment fund and some international organizations have no legal grounds.




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