For Immediate Distribution
31 August 2015 – One of the world’s most prestigious individual achievement prizes, the Joshua Heintz Humanitarian Award for distinguished service to mankind and achievement in the field of international justice, has been awarded posthumously to Sergei Magnitsky.
The award was presented at the International Humanitarian Dialogs, an annual assembly of current and former prosecutors at international war crimes tribunals and renowned academics and law experts. The event took place at the Chautauqua Institution’s Jackson Center.
On Sergei Magnitsky’s behalf the award was accepted by his family members, including his mother, wife and son.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Magnitsky’s mother Natalia said:
“I wish to express sincere gratitude to all the people in the world who are supporting us and our cause. All the attention paid to my son’s ultimate sacrifice will hopefully help and save lives of others in the future so they don’t have to suffer the same fate as Sergei.”
Bill Browder, the global leader of the Magnitsky Justice campaign and author of the best-selling book, ‘Red Notice’, commented on the importance of the international award to Sergei Magnitsky:
“I am inspired to see that Sergei Magnitsky’s bravery is recognized by the brightest minds whose job it is and has been to prosecute and confront the most heinous violators of human rights in this world. It is gratifying that Sergei’s legacy lives on in people’s hearts more than five years since his brutal killing in Russian police custody. May this serve as a reminder of both the sacrifice that Sergei made for a more just world, and the steps that still need to be taken before Sergei’s own perpetrators can be brought to justice.”
Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who uncovered the $230 million corruption scheme involving Russian officials and an organized crime gang. He was arrested on trumped-up charges and killed in pre-trial detention in Russia in 2009 after testifying against the officials involved. Sergei Magnitsky’s name has become synonymous with the lack of rule of law in Russia. His case has lead to the adoption of the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the United States imposing targeted personal sanctions on those involved in his torture and death and other documented cases of corruption and gross human rights abuse. The sanctions include ban on entry visas and asset freezes.
The first recipient of the Joshua Heintz Humanitarian Award was Whitney Robson Harris, the US prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials who led the team’s case against Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking leader of the Nazi Security Police to face trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The extraordinary story of how Sergei Magnitsky stood up to corrupt Russian officials and paid the ultimate price for his ideals is described in Bill Browder’s book, ‘Red Notice’ released earlier this year to a world-wide acclaim.
For more information, please contact:
Magnitsky Justice Campaign