Home Europe Magnitsky Beating Russia in European Court a Decade After His Death

Magnitsky Beating Russia in European Court a Decade After His Death


On Tuesday, in the European Court, it was ruled that there were several articles found in the European Convention on Human Rights that were violated. These violations were done within 11 months during the posthumous criminal conviction and pre-trial detention of Sergei Magnitsky. He was a Russian government corruption whistleblower and tax auditor who was found dead on the floor inside his jail cell 10 years ago on northeastern Moscow.

In 2008, Magnitskymentioned about a scheme that was made by a lot of government officials who were fraudulently reclaiming 230 million US dollars in taxes. After speaking out, he was detained. Not only that but he was tortured as well, and as stated by the court, he was stripped off of his right to life among all of the other violations done to him.

Eventually, a ruling comes years after Magnitsky’s plight, inspiring international outrage in a lot of countries because of the erosion of the rule of law in Russia and “MagnitskyActs.” From the US to Estonia, all were enraged, thus prompting governments to authorize the sanctioning of human abusers.

This came nearly 10 years after Magnitskyfiled a claim to the European Court of Human Rights in Matrosskaya Tishina detention center in central Moscow, the place where he would die at age 37, just merely 4 months later. When he died, Magnitsky’s wife and his mother continued and pursued his case. They were named as joint applicants during the judgment.

Before his detainment last November 2008, Magnitsky was still the head in Firestone Duncan under the tax practices office. This was a firm in Moscow that specializes in giving legal advice and tax to foreign investors. During his time here, he was able to detect the schemes done by several officials who were stealing millions of tax returns.

Months after he released this information to the public, the police arrested him for tax evasion together with Bill Browder, a British colleague of his. The city court in Moscow denied a lot of appeals made by Magnitsky’s lawyers. They asked the court to release him from his pre-trial detention. However, they chose to extend his detention instead.

According to what was stated in the ECHR judgement, specifically on page 62, Magnitsky actually spent 11 months of his life between 3 pre-trial detention locations in Moscow. Oftentimes, he was sharing with other inmates inside dirty and poorly-lit cells and was just given 10 minutes of shower time per week. He was also given food which was infested in worms.

On May 2009, Magnitsky complained about his back pain, making him severely ill for the next months. It was concluded that he was not given enough medical care inside, thus aggravating his pancreatitis and violating his rights.

Now, after the enraged international community, with Browder leading the case, he was able to lobby for the enactment of the Magnitsky Act in the US, Canada, the UK, and three other Baltic States. The Act was a success, and there was a unanimous decision in the panel of the ECHR judges. They believed that the Russian state is responsible for torturing and killing Sergei Magnitsky.


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