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Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in custody in 2009. (file photo)

A lawyer representing the family of the deceased Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky has been hospitalized in Moscow with serious injuries after falling several stories.

The incident on March 21 happened one day before he was to appear in court in connection with the Magnitsky case.

Magnitsky's former employer, U.S.-born British investor Bill Browder, said in a statement on March 21 that lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov was "thrown from the fourth floor of his apartment building."

Russian news reports suggested his fall may have been an accident.

Nikolai Gorokhov
Nikolai Gorokhov

Magnitsky's death in November 2009 while in pretrial detention in Moscow was the catalyst for a 2012 U.S. law, which Browder lobbied for, allowing sanctions against alleged Russian rights abusers.

Magnitsky's family and friends say he was jailed, tortured, and denied medical treatment that could have saved his life as retribution for accusing law-enforcement and tax officials of stealing $230 million from Russian coffers.

Browder said in his March 21 statement that Gorokhov was set to appear before a Moscow appeals court on March 22.

Browder said Gorokhov planned to argue against a lower court's refusal to consider a new criminal complaint from Magnitsky's mother in connection with the fraud that her son uncovered.

Two Kremlin-loyal news outlets reported on March 21 that Gorokhov fell while trying to move a Jacuzzi up to his apartment together with two movers.

Those reports included photos and a video of a shattered tub outside a building. The news outlets claimed it was the Jacuzzi that was being moved.

The respected independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta cited a representative of Browder’s company, Hermitage Capital, as saying Gorokhov was trying to bring a bathtub up to his apartment.

But it said the circumstances behind his fall remain murky.

With reporting by echo.msk.ru, Life.ru, ren.tv, and Novaya Gazeta
European Council President Donald Tusk (file photo)

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has accused European Council President Donald Tusk of committing diplomatic treason when he was Poland's prime minister -- alleging that Tusk worked with Russian President Vladimir Putin to harm Polish interests after the 2010 plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people.

The ministry notified the military department of the National Prosecutor's Office on March 21 that it suspected Tusk, who was prime minister at the time, of an "abuse of trust in foreign relations."

The allegations are the latest and most serious move in an internal political row between Poland's ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party and Tusk, who is a member of Poland's opposition Civic Platform (PO).

Poland was isolated and rebuffed at a European Union summit earlier in March when Tusk, a centrist, was reappointed as European Council president over Warsaw's objections.

The National Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw confirmed it received the ministry's notification.

It now has 30 days to decide whether to investigate.

Tusk dismissed the accusations as "purely about emotions and obsessions."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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