Posts Tagged ‘ilan berman’

November 2012

BERMAN: U.S.-Russia ‘reset’ hasn’t changed stance

The Washington Times

You might not be familiar with Sergei Magnitsky, the 37-year-old Russian lawyer who died of medical complications while languishing in a Moscow prison back in 2009. You should be — Magnitsky’s case is worth knowing, both because of what it says about the nature of the Russian state and because it could soon prompt a substantial shake-up in U.S.-Russian relations.

A lawyer for the Moscow-based Hermitage Capital investment fund, Magnitsky ran afoul of Russian authorities when he stumbled across, and dutifully reported, evidence of massive official corruption. For his trouble, he was imprisoned and held without trial for nearly a year in squalid conditions on trumped-up charges of tax evasion and tax fraud. Toward the end of his incarceration, Magnitsky developed gall stones and pancreatitis, but he was denied proper medical attention by prison authorities. He died in November 2009 as a result.

To add insult to injury, Russia’s Interior Ministry has since posthumously moved ahead with prosecuting Magnitsky. Like the rest of the circumstances surrounding Magnitsky’s demise, the current case is fraught with absurdity. Hermitage lawyers believe that documents relating to the affair have been falsified, but so far — in time-honored Soviet tradition — they have been denied permission to see the case file for their client.

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