Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Russia

Draft PACE Report Slams Russia Over Magnitsky Case

"No ministers wanted to meet us, no high official or politically responsible persons wanted to meet us," said Andreas Gross. (file photo)
"No ministers wanted to meet us, no high official or politically responsible persons wanted to meet us," said Andreas Gross. (file photo)
By RFE/RL
A draft report from the Council of Europe accuses Russia of allowing corrupt officials to "plunder" the state while "brutally silencing" their critics.

Swiss deputy Andreas Gross, rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the Sergei Magnitsky case, presented the report to the council's Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committee in Strasbourg on June 25.

PACE is expected to consider the 41-page document, titled "Refusing Impunity for the Killers of Sergei Magnitsky," for approval in September.

Magntisky died in pretrial detention in 2009 after uncovering a massive tax fraud scheme by police and government officials.

"It's a report about a person who discovered injustice -- you can even say a criminal act -- because he discovered that not only property had been stolen but, within the tax authorities, $230 million was stolen from the Russian state," Gross told a news conference in Strasbourg.

The report says PACE is "appalled that Magnitsky died in pretrial detention and none of the persons responsible for his death has yet been held to account."

It claims "high-level" Russian state officials orchestrated a "cover-up."

The document says Magnitsky died "because he refused to give in to the pressure that corrupt midlevel officials had put on him in order to get away with their crimes."

The report was completed after a six-month investigation in which Gross visited Moscow, London, Cyprus, and Bern.

"Not all the people we requested [in Russia] wanted to meet us," Gross said. "No ministers wanted to meet us, no high official or politically responsible persons wanted to meet us."

The report urges the Russian authorities to "fully investigate the circumstance and background" of Magnitsky’s death.

"In the interest of the Russian people themselves and of their state, corrupt officials must not be allowed to plunder state property whilst brutally silencing those standing in their way," it adds.

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