The Return of Medical Blackmail

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The following is a press release being sent around by Hermitage Capital Management with regard to the death last night of Sergei Magnitsky.  The link to the 40-page complaint by Magnitsky to Chief Prosecutor Yuri Chaika detailing the urgent care he required for his medical conditional is very damning.

Death of Hermitage Lawyer in Russian Prison

17 November 2009 – Last night Sergey Magnitskiy, a 37-year old legal adviser and father of two, died in Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

Since 2007, Sergey Magnitskiy was defending the Hermitage Fund and HSBC against serious frauds perpetrated with the involvement of Russian officials. Sergey Magnitskiy gave formal testimonies naming officers of the Interior Ministry and their role in the seizure of Hermitage Fund/HSBC companies. Shortly after his testimony, on 24 November 2008, Sergey Magnitskiy was arrested by the team of the same Interior Ministry officers named in his testimony.

Sergey Magnitskiy was refused bail and kept in detention for a yearwithout trial. Yesterday, Sergey’s lawyers came to see him at a plannedinvestigative procedure at Butyrka detention center and were deniedaccess to him. The lawyers were told Sergey could not leave his cellbecause of his state of health. Investigators Oleinik and Silchenkorefused to show a medical report about Sergey’s health to his lawyers,stating it was an “internal matter”.

Sergey’s mother was the first to find out about the death of her sonthis morning. She came to Butyrka detention center to give him somepersonal items and was told that her son had been transferred to adifferent detention facility, the Matrosskaya Tishina center, theprevious day. When she then went to Matrosskaya Tishina, she was toldthat her son was dead.
Sergey’s lawyers were told that Sergey Magnitskiy died of a rupture tothe abdominal membrane around 9:00 pm on 16 November 2009 and that hisbody was transferred to the 11th Morgue in Moscow.

Sergey Magnitskiy was kept in pre-trial detention for a year anddenied by Investigator Silchenko the ability to see his mother and hiswife and speak to his children for the entire time of his detention. Hewas transferred between four detention centers and his detentionconditions progressively deteriorated. Numerous complaints by SergeyMagnitskiy and his lawyers about the physical and psychologicalpressure exerted on him, the legal breaches during the pre-trialinvestigation, the obstruction to his defence and the inhuman anddegrading conditions in detention, were left unaddressed.

Additionally, Sergey Magnitskiy wrote a 40-page complaint to GeneralProsecutor Chaika describing a serious medical condition whichdeveloped in detention, the on-going and regular denial of medicaltreatment which resulted in a serious worsening of his health, andpleaded for access to medical attention. There was no response to hiscomplaint.

“I would like to express my shock and sadness at the passing ofSergey Magnitskiy. Sergey was a brilliant and honourable lawyer knownby all whom met him as a diligent professional and a committed familyman. I know I speak for all the staff of Hermitage Capital when I saythat both

Sergey and his family are in our hearts at this time. He and theideals he stood for will not be forgotten,” said CEO of HermitageCapital William Browder.

Lawyers will conduct an independent investigation into his death.