Turmoil Continues in Magnitsky Case

Judicial hall. Source: Rian.ruDevelopments continued this week in the case of the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, with the United States and Russia at odds over visa sanctions and lawsuits flying from all sides.

On August 9, a Moscow regional court threw out a slander case by investigator Pavel Karpov against a group of human rights activists who say Karpov was found to have stolen budgetary money during the Magnitsky investigation.

Meanwhile, another slander lawsuit by Federal Prosecutor Andrei Pechegin against Magnitsky’s colleague, lawyer Jamison Firestone, is still ongoing. Pechegin is demanding that Firestone recant his statements that the prosecutor worked to hinder an objective investigation of the theft of 5.4 billion rubles from the Russian federal budget – which Magnitsky was investigating prior to his death – and also for persecuting Magnitsky.

Also on Tuesday, Magnitsky’s colleagues made a request for materials on 20 rejected complaints that he had made while being held in a Moscow pretrial detention facility, mostly regarding his deteriorating health condition.

For example, Magnitsky filed formal complaints that he was being denied medical procedures to treat pancreatitis and gallstones, that he was being unlawfully persecuted, and that his other rights were being violated. However, Prosecutor Pechegin had rejected these complaints and responded that there had been no physical or psychological pressure on Magnitsky and that there was no basis for any reaction on his part.

Russia has recently come under increasing international pressure as a result of Sergei Magnitsky’s death. On July 27, the US State Department announced a visa ban on several dozen Russia officials connected with the case, including a number from Russia’s federal security services, which the US considers party to Magnitsky’s “torture and murder.”

Russia responded with a statement that it would be introducing retaliatory sanctions against a group of American officials. Reports surfaced on Wednesday that the list had been prepared, which the Russian Internal Ministry denied.