The trial of a Russian lawyer who blew the whistle on a high-level corruption scandal even though he is dead as a result of mistreatment while in detention is an attempt to deflect attention from those who committed the crimes he exposed, Amnesty International said on the eve of the preliminary hearing scheduled for 28 January in a Moscow court.
Sergei Magnitsky – who died on 16 November 2009 – was charged with the very crimes he exposed triggering a sequence of events that lead to his premature death.
“The Russian authorities’ intention to proceed with the criminal prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky violates his fundamental rights even in death, in particular the right to defend himself in person,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director.
“The trial of a deceased person and the forcible involvement of his relatives is a dangerous precedent that would open a whole new chapter in Russia’s worsening human rights record.
“The legal grounds for the posthumous criminal prosecution against Sergei Magnitski to say the least are dubious and the authorities must halt this travesty.”