Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old lawyer, a father of two, died abruptly in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina detention center at 9:50 p.m. on 16 th November
of apparent toxic shock
and heart failure, said a spokeswoman for the investigative committee of
the Interior Ministry.
lawyer said his client had been visibly ill . Magnitsky was diagnosed with pancreatic problems in August. He told
the Tverskoi District Court in September that he suffered chest pains and Magnitsky’s
lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov said that Butyrskaya officials had barred him from entering the jail to visit his client, citing Magnitsky’s poor health. He asked for a doctor to be allowed to examine him. The
court rejected the request.
Magnitsky wrote a 40-page complaint to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika describing a serious medical condition that developed while he was in detention and pleaded for access to medical attention, Hermitage Capital said. There was no response to his complaint, it said. Magnitsky also complained at the September hearing about “inhumane
conditions” in the Butyrskaya jail, including the absence
of a toilet, hot water and windows.
Magnitsky’s mother was
the first to find out about the death of her son . She came to Butyrskaya to give him some personal items and was told that her son had been transferred to a different detention facility,
Hermitage Capital said in a statement.
She said Magnitsky had not raised any health concerns at his most recent court hearing, when Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court ruled
to prolong his detention until Nov. 26.
Magnitsky was arrested
on Nov. 24 2008, after a search of his apartment and moved between several detention centers before being sent to the Butyrskaya
jail in late July. Interior Ministry investigators had accused Magnitsky, a partner with the Firestone Duncan law firm, of being directly involved in developing and executing a scheme in which Hermitage head William Browder purportedly evaded more than 100 million rubles
($3.25 million) in taxes in 2002.
The tax case was opened after Browder accused senior Interior Ministry officials of stealing more than $230 million in budget money. Magnitsky testified in June 2008 and October 2008 against two police officials, including
Colonel Lieutenant Artyom Kuznetsov,
who later joined the investigation into
If he had been found guilty, Magnitsky would have faced up to six years in
Browder has been barred from Russia because of national security
concerns since 2005.
He has linked the ban to his
high-profile battles against Gazprom over inflated
and Kremlin-linked oil
major Surgutneftegaz over its
murky ownership schemes.
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