By Pearl Rimon
Impunity Watch, Europe Desk
MOSCOW, Russia — In its annual Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011, The United States Department of State strongly criticized Russia for the continuing impunity of the Russian officials who were involved in the killing of Sergei Magnitsky.
The report states that Magnitsky’s death was a result of medical abuse and neglect during pretrial detention. The report stated the following, “In May the Prosecutor General’s Office concluded its probe into the Ministry of Internal Affairs officers who arrested and prosecuted Magnitskiy. It found no evidence of wrongdoing. In June the Prosecutor General’s Office approved the findings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs officers accused by Magnitskiy of tax fraud and the theft of 5 billion rubles (approximately $150 million). In their report the officers claimed that Magnitskiy himself carried out the theft that he reported to authorities.”
The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act involves the banning of (1) individuals responsible for the death or detention of Magnitsky or involved in any related criminal conspiracy; or (2) individuals responsible for any human right violations against individuals who seek to expose illegal activity by the Russian government.
Despite former Russian President Medvedev’s intervention in the Magnitsky manner, nobody has been convicted in Russia for their involvement with the case. “Medvedev acknowledged that a ‘crime had been committed.’ However, on August 2, police refused a request by the council to reinvestigate Magnitskiy’s death,” says the U.S State Department’s report.
The Magnitsky issue highlighted the rampant corruption that occurred on different levels of the government. In this particular case, Magnitsky was prosecuted by the very same Internal Affair Ministry officers that he accused of fraudulent behavior.
The U.S. is not the only country considering placing a ban on Russian officials linked to the Magnitsky case, a group of Italian deputies is advocating the idea and is currently slated to be discussed in Italian parliament for this week. The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is expected to announce whether or not it has decided to conduct an independent investigation into the death of Magnitsky due to Russia’s failure in convicting anyone for his death.
For further information please see:
The Heritage Foundation – After WTO Membership Promoting Human Rights In Russia With The Magnitsky Act – 14 May 2012
Law and Order Russia – U.S. Government Escalates Criticism of Russia’s Handling of Magnitsky Case – 28 May 2012