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Dead Russian Lawyer's Colleagues To Continue Seeking Justice

Browder Vows Justice For Sergei Magnitsky
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WATCH: Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder vows to seek justice for Sergei Magnitsky.

The chief executive of the Hermitage Capital Management fund says he and his colleagues will continue to seek justice for a colleague they say was killed in a Russian jail, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, was an attorney for Hermitage who died while in pretrial detention near Moscow in November 2009. Officials said he died of heart failure but rights activists say he died after being beaten and because he was denied medical treatment for an illness he had.

Hermitage CEO William Browder told RFE/RL on October 10 that all the documents that he and his colleagues obtained from Magnitsky's relatives after his death indicate "absolutely and conclusively" that he was murdered.

The Moscow Public Oversight Commission that was established to monitor the investigation into Magnitsky's death said it has obtained documents proving he was severely beaten by eight guards in a cell before he died.

According to Browder, Magnitsky's body bore signs of a beating and was bruised.

Browder said that three days after Magnitsky's death, a police station that had not been instructed about the cover-up by those in charge suggested that Magnitsky's death could be classified as murder.

But Browder said that report was subsequently shelved and the only hypothesis on his death to be pursued was "negligence" on the part of prison officials.

Browder said Magnitsky's mother, Natalya Magnitskaya, has asked the authorities and police 30 times to provide her with all the evidence related to his death -- including tissue samples and autopsy reports -- without success.

Browder noted that Magnitsky was arrested and charged with tax evasion in November 2008 and the charges were initiated by the same officials against whom Magnitsky had testified one month earlier, accusing them of embezzling $230 million.

After Magnitsky's death, the Moscow Public Oversight Commission and the Russian presidential Human Rights Council concluded he had been falsely arrested. Browder says that in order to prove there was no conflict of interest and to justify the arrest, law-enforcement officials have resurrected the tax evasion case against Magnitsky.

"That is an unprecedented situation in world jurisprudence, when a dead man is being investigated," Browder said.

Browder added that he and his colleagues have a list of 60 Russian officials who they are sure were involved in Magnitsky's killing and whose assets they have been monitoring to prove they were involved in the fraud Magnitsky had accused them of.

Browder gave two examples: Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Kuznetsov, whose assets were estimated at $3 million although his official annual salary is about $10,000; and Russian Interior Ministry investigator Pavel Karpov, whose assets were estimated at $1.5 million while his yearly pay is also some $10,000.

Browder vowed that he and his colleagues will continue seeking justice for Magnitsky. He expressed regret that although documents that he and his colleagues obtained after Magnitsky's death show that some 60 officials could be held accountable for his murder, only two doctors have been "scapegoated" thus far.

"We are now two years from the day that [Magnitsky] died, or a little less than two years," he said. "And not a single member of law enforcement, not a single member of the prosecutor's office, not a single judge, and not a single jail official has been prosecuted for any of the terrible things that happened to him."