Russia drops charges against doctor in Magnitsky case

France 24

Russia said Monday it had dropped charges against a doctor implicated in the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, sparking accusations that the authorities had no interest in seeking justice in the case.

Larisa Litvinova was one of only two people, both prison doctors, to be charged after a long-running and high-profile investigation into what activists see as one of Russia’s most outrageous post-Soviet rights violations.

Magnitsky died in 2009 at the age of 37 from untreated medical conditions including acute pancreatis after being held in a notoriously squalid prison during a fraud probe against his client, US investment firm Hermitage Capital.

“The Investigative Committee has decided to drop the criminal case against doctor and laboratory assistant at the pre-trial detention centre, Larisa Litvinova,” investigators said in a statement said.

It cited “the elapsing of the statute of limitations,” saying a new law had come into force since the probe began, meaning that investigators had to bring a case to trial within two years.

Litvinova was charged last August with causing death by negligence, while her boss, the detention centre’s deputy medical chief Dmitry Kratov, was charged with negligence.

The Investigative Committee said that the case against Kratov had not been dropped.

Hermitage Capital, which has led a campaign to get Magnitsky’s death investigated, in a statement Monday accused the Russian government of “reluctance … to hold anyone accountable for Sergei Magnitsky’s death.”

“It’s clear from their behaviour that there is no intention of administering justice in the Magnitsky case,” William Browder, the head of Hermitage Capital, said in an e-mail to AFP.

He said he believed that the treatment of Magnitsky merited the harsher charge of torture, which would have had a much longer time limit of 10 years.

“The Investigative Committee should have charged them with torture instead of just negligence because the doctors deliberately and systematically denied Sergei medical care,” he said.

The latest announcement comes a day after Magnitsky’s birthday on Sunday, when his mother and rights activists including Lyudmila Alexeyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group held a memorial event.

Browder said he believed the timing was no coincidence.

“We have every reason to believe that this was timed to coincide with Sergei’s 40th birthday,” he said.

“The authorities seem to relish in putting two fingers up to the West in this case.”

Investigators had said earlier this year that the probe would be extended to April 24.

Officials initially played down Magnitsky’s death in November 2009, but a public outcry prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to say that it was likely caused by “criminal acts.”

He also introduced new legislation to stop those accused of financial crimes being held behind bars.

Magnitsky’s fate even inspired a hard-hitting play.

US lawmakers have proposed sanctions against a list of officials linked to his imprisonment and death, while the European Parliament has also backed bank account freezes and visa restrictions.

In an apparent reaction, Russia took the unusual step of reopening the fraud probe against Magnitsky after his death, prompting a critical statement from Amnesty International last week calling for its closure.

Prior to his detention Magnitsky was working for what was once Russia’s largest Western investment fund and claimed to have uncovered a scheme used by police officials to reclaim about $235 million in taxes paid by his client.

But instead officials charged Magnitsky with fraud and put him in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina jail, later transferring him to the most infamous prison in the city, Butyrka.

He was moved back to Matrosskaya Tishina days before his death and a report by the Kremlin’s human rights council last year found that he was handcuffed and left in isolation for an hour before he died. hairy woman hairy woman female wrestling https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php займ на карту онлайн

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