The Indianpost

Sergei Magnitsky death: Russian police officer cleared of wrongdoing

The officer ordered Mr Magnitsky’s arrest on alleged tax evasion charges in 2008 after the lawyer accused him of helping to orchestrate a $230m (£140m) fraud against the Russian state. Mr Magnitsky was detained in a series of squalid prisons for a year without going to trial and was declined access to his family.

The officer allegedly refused to authorise his release on bail or to transfer him to hospital after he developed health problems. Mr Magnitsky, 37, died 11 months later in jail.

On Monday the Russian General Prosecutors Office cleared the officer, ruling that his actions were in strict compliance with the law. A statement said: “There were no violations of the federal law that infringed on the constitutional rights of the participants of the criminal case by the [officer].”

Hermitage declared the judgement a “whitewash”. “The Russian government appears impervious to the damage to its credibility that this type of whitewash is doing. It will take many years for the Russian justice system to recover any gloss of credibility after this,” a spokesman said.

A human rights commission appointed by President Dmitry Medvedev last month found Russian police had fabricated the charges against Mr Magnitsky. His death has been an embarrassment for Russia, with European and US lawmakers threatening to ban entry to any official linked to the alleged fraud the lawyer uncovered. Swiss bank accounts have been frozen and documentaries have been produced about Mr Magnitsky’s final days.


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