Magnitsky's mother files complaint with European Court of Human Rights

The mother of Sergei Magnitsky, a Hermitage Capital lawyer who died in Moscow prison three years ago, has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for declaring illegal the prosecution of her late son.

Open Society Justice Initiative, a U.S. company representing the interests of Magnitsky's mother said the lawyer "died after spending almost a year in pretrial detention and being denied essential medical care, in retaliation for exposing fraud worth $230 million involving senior Interior Ministry officials."

"The complaint, filed on behalf of Magnitsky's mother, asks the court to find that the Russian Federation has violated six articles of the European Convention of Human Rights: Article 2 (denial of right to life); Article 3 (torture); Article 5 (unlawful detention); Article 10 (retaliation against whistle-blowers); and Article 13 (failure to provide an effective remedy)," the company reported.

The company said it was protecting human rights and offering legal support worldwide, such as filing of complaints and searching for alternatives and reduction of the arbitrary and excessive pretrial detention practices.

Magnitsky, a lawyer for the investment foundation Hermitage Capital, died in the Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility on November 16, 2009 at the age of 37. He was charged with tax evasion (a crime enshrined by Article 199 of the Russian Criminal Code). Magnitsky\'s colleagues said he was imprisoned after he had exposed corruptive schemes of certain Russian officials.

Magnitsky's death drew a broad public response. The Russian Interior Ministry has finalized the investigation into his case but the defense of the Magnitsky family said they would not study the case materials.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act on June 26, 2012, introducing visa and financial sanctions on Russian officials suspected by the United States of violating human rights. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Magnitsky Act earlier.

The act has yet to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee and the joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. If the procedure is complete, the act, with which the congressmen want to replace the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, will be submitted to the U.S. President for signing.

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