Press Release originally sent 23 Oct 2011
by The Hermitage Fund
23 October 2011 – Mrs. Natalia Magnitskaya, mother of the 37-year old anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian pre-trial detention center two years ago after being subjected to torture and denied medical treatment, has sued a senior Moscow judge for the denial of access to justice. A hearing of her lawsuit is scheduled for Monday, 24 October, 13:30 at the Moscow City Court (8 Bogorodsky Val).
Mrs. Magnitskaya is suing Judge Igor Alisov, Chairman of the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow, for failure to consider her legal action to stop the prosecution by Russian authorities of her dead son, a prosecution denounced as barbaric and medieval by friends of her late son. In refusing to accept Mrs. Magnitskaya’s claim, Judge Alisov said that the criminal prosecution of a dead lawyer does not violate his mother’s rights and does not obstruct her access to justice.
Explaining the grounds for her lawsuit against Judge Alisov, Mrs. Magnitskaya says:
“Judge Alisov, in his position as Chairman of Tverskoi District Court, deprived me of the right to protection from courts. I believe he was obviously aware that this denial of justice was against the law. I consider his actions as a hidden form of mockery and manifestation of his conflict of interest.”
“Earlier, the Deputy General Prosecutor of Russia issued an unlawful and unconstitutional decree to prosecute my dead son making me a participant in that criminal proceeding. The fact that it is directly relevant to my rights is evidenced by summonses for questioning that I have received from Interior Ministry Investigator Sapunova who personally prosecuted my son,” says Mrs. Magnitskaya in the lawsuit.
On 30 July 2011, Deputy General Prosecutor of Russia (whose name has been withheld by authorities from the public and the Magnistky family) ordered the reopening of the prosecution against Mr. Magnitsky, who had been dead for 20 months by then. This was done under the pretext of a recent Constitutional Court ruling which allowed cases to be reopened against deceased defendants on application from their relatives for the purposes of reinstating their good name and rehabilitation. However, Mr. Magnitsky’s relatives did not apply for the case to be reopened. Instead of rehabilitation, the case is being used by the Russian Interior Ministry to prosecute Mr. Magnitsky after his death, using the same evidence that the Russian President’s Human Rights Council concluded was fabricated, and led by the same team of investigators that the Human Rights Council concluded in its report in July 2011 had a gross conflict of interest. Prior to his arrest in October 2008, Mr. Magnitsky testified against these investigators for their role in the theft of his client’s companies and the embezzlement of $230 million of public funds. He later gave testimony from detention regarding their role in the cover-up of these acts.
Instead of prosecuting the officials named by the Human Rights Council for the false arrest of Mr. Magnitsky on trumped-up charges, Russian authorities are now prosecuting Mr. Magnitsky. As part of this case, in August and September 2011, Mr. Magnitsky’s mother was summoned for questioning as a witness by the same Russian Interior Ministry officials who arrested Mr. Magnitsky to silence him and who tortured Mr. Magnisky or authorised his torture while he was in custody.
On 5 September 2011, Mrs. Magnitskaya filed a lawsuit against the Deputy General Prosecutor for prosecuting her son after his death.
On 12 September 2011, Judge Igor Alisov refused to consider Mrs. Magnitskaya’s lawsuit against the Deputy General Prosecutor claiming—despite a very detailed filing setting out the grounds for her suit—that she was not a party to the proceedings and she did not justify how her rights have been violated by the reopening of the case against her son.
On 20 September 2011, Mrs. Magnitskaya filed a lawsuit against Judge Igor Alisov for failure to consider her lawsuit against Deputy General Prosecutor.
The lawsuit against Judge Alisov will be heard on Monday, 24 October, in the Moscow City Court. Mrs. Magnitskaya is represented by her counsel, lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov.
Judge Alisov is the same judge who in March 2011 absolved from any responsibility all of the officials named by Sergei Magnitsky as perpetrators of the $230 million theft. The judge instead convicted an ex-felon, previously convicted for burglary, of what has been called the largest financial crime in Russian history. This was done in a special proceeding that examined no evidence. Judge Alisov sought no compensation of the embezzled $230 million from the convict.
For further information please contact:
+44 207 440 17 77