The Show Trial of Sergei Magnitsky

Wall Street Journal

It sounds like something out of a Nikolai Gogol story, but it’s true: Sergei Magnitsky, killed by abuse and neglect in a Russian prison at the age of 37, is now on trial more than three years after his death.

On Tuesday a Russian court held the second hearing of a sham trial to convict him posthumously of tax evasion. That hearing was postponed at the request of Magnitsky’s state-appointed defense attorney, who pleaded for more time to prepare a defense.

Assuming this gesture was not part of the charade, he needn’t have bothered. As in the show trials of the 1930s, the outcome is assured. The whole point of putting this dead man on trial is to secure a conviction and rob the victim of his status as an international martyr. Last year the U.S. passed the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions and bans from travel to the U.S. Russians implicated in his murder. Some countries in Europe may do the same.

The Putin government has no interest in seeing Magnitsky’s name cleared. Yet it is revealing that Moscow feels bound to produce a verdict. Even Vladimir Putin’s Russia seeks to adopt the trappings if not the substance of criminal justice.

Magnitsky’s real “crime,” the one for which he was killed, was to expose official corruption and the theft of state assets after his client, investor Bill Browder of Hermitage Capital, was expelled from Russia in 2005 and forced to liquidate his holdings there. Perhaps conscious of the absurdity of trying a corpse, last week prosecutors added Mr. Browder to the dock in absentia. So the world will be treated to the spectacle of a trial of a dead man and a foreigner living in Britain—all to improve the image of Putin’s regime.

The Russian state, in its benevolence, granted the defense attorney the time he requested this week. But there can be no stay of execution for Sergei Magnitsky, and his trial deserves the full measure of the world’s contempt. быстрые займы на карту займ онлайн https://zp-pdl.com https://zp-pdl.com/best-payday-loans.php займ срочно без отказов и проверок

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