The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights is appalled
by the death in 2009 in pretrial detention of the Russian tax and
accountancy expert, Sergei Magnitsky, who had carried out investigations
into a massive fraud against the Russian fiscal authorities, and
that none of the people responsible for his death have yet been punished.
Mr Magnitsky, who was detained for alleged tax evasion after his
complaints were sent for investigation by the very officials whom
he had accused of complicity in the fraud he had denounced, faced increasingly
harsh conditions despite declining health, and died after being
beaten with rubber batons.
Based on a detailed analysis of these events, the committee
urges the competent Russian authorities to fully investigate the
circumstances and background of Mr Magnitsky’s death, and the possible
criminal responsibility of all officials involved, including contradictory
testimony by prison officials and other witnesses, the existence of
two different versions of the “death report”, and the origin of
the extreme wealth displayed by certain retired Interior Ministry
and tax officials. Targeted sanctions against the individuals involved
– such as visa bans and asset freezes – should be considered as
a means of last resort, the committee proposes.