Play Based on Magnitsky’s Death to Premiere in US

Sergei Magnitsky. Source:

A play based on the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky is set to stage its North American premiere in Washington, DC on May 4, 2011.

The play, called “One Hour Eighteen,” is a highly acclaimed production based on excerpts from Magnitsky’s personal diary. As has been the case in Moscow since premiering last June, the play will be followed by a group discussion.

Sergei Magnitsky’s tragic death has become a symbol for those working to further human rights and the rule of law in Russia today. After uncovering a $230 million tax fraud case implicating a variety of Russian officials, bankers, and members of the mob, Magnitsky was arrested and placed in a Moscow detention facility. After eleven months of being denied proper medical care, he died without ever seeing trial in November 2009. What followed was an unprecedented global outcry demanding justice for what, upon closer inspection, appeared to be a case of premeditated murder. While a still-ongoing independent inquiry ordered by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev concluded last week that Magnitsky’s jailing and treatment was illegal, no charges have been filed in the case.

The play’s premiere in Washington could not be more timely, as Russian investigators announced this morning that they are seeking the arrest of one of Magnitsky’s colleagues, Ivan Cherkasov, in connection with his accusations that tax inspector Olga Stepanova was involved in the fraud Magnitsky uncovered. Stepanova was one of the central figures in a YouTube mini-doc released in April by Magnitsky’s supporters, where evidence is presented that she and three other inspectors garnered $42.9 million for aiding in the fraud.

A court is set to consider the motion on May 4.

The play will be staged on Wednesday, May 4 from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. RSVP is required. Click here for more details.