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Russian Prosecutors Call For 'Not Guilty' Verdict In Magnitsky Trial

Russian Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in custody in 2009.
Russian Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in custody in 2009.
Russian prosecutors have dropped accusations against the only person being tried for the prison death of anticorruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Calls by prosecutors for a not guilty verdict against former prison official Dmitry Kratov came late on December 24 amid a dispute between Moscow and Washington.

The verdict is expected on December 28.

In related news, on December 25, a Federation Council committee recommended that Russia's upper house of parliament should approve a bill retaliating for the "Magnitsky Act" in the United States.

The legislation, already passed by the State Duma, would ban U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children.

On December 14, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the "Magnitsky Act" to punish Russians seen as being linked to the lawyer's death or other alleged human rights abuses.

Magnitsky died in November 2009 after nearly a year in jail.

Colleagues allege he was the victim of retribution from the same police he had accused of stealing $230 million through fraudulent tax refunds.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and "The Guardian"