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Russia Accused of Torture in Magnitsky Death

My thanks to Streetwise Professor for pointing toward this Moscow Times piece by Sergei Guriev and Aleh Tsyvinsky.  I especially like the Prof’s comment:  “I have a question for the self-styled Russophiles on this site, who constantly moan about Russophobia-including mine: do you consider Sergei and Aleh Russophobes?  Traitors to narod and nation?  On what basis?  And if they are not Russophobes, why do you consider me one?  Accidents of birth?”  IMHO, getting beyond the Russophile/Russophobe dismissal of competing views is the most difficult aspect of the debate on Russia.  Recommended.

When the authorities denied medical treatment to Magnitsky after he complained of chest pains, they were guilty of torture. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines torture precisely in that way. It states that “the term ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him.” Russia is a signatory to that convention.

In this sense, law enforcement officials in Russia employ essentially the same methods as the notorious NKVD did in 1937. Up until last week, we knew that torture was frequently used in the country’s detention centers, but we convinced ourselves that it did not concern us personally. Now, if we are honest with ourselves and our children, we must acknowledge that this problem concerns everyone.