'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Russian Justice: Sergei Magnitsky’s Torture and Murder in Pre-Trial Detention
After a 37-year old
lawyer Sergei Magnitsky testified against Russian Interior Ministry officers
for their role in embezzling $230 million from the state, he was arrested in 2008 and
placed in pre-trial detention by those same officers he accused of crimes. In
an attempt to force Magnitsky to withdraw his testimony, these officers
intentionally tortured and ultimately murdered him.
Held for 11 months
without trial, he was, as reported by The Telegraph, "denied visits from his
family" and "forced into increasingly squalid cells." He
developed gall stones, pancreatitis and
calculous cholecystitis, for which he was given inadequate
medical treatment during his incarceration. Surgery was ordered in June,
but never performed; detention center chief Ivan P. Prokopenko later indicated
that he "...did not consider Magnitsky sick... Prisoners often try to pass
themselves off as sick, in order to get better conditions."
On 16 November 2009, eight
days before he would have had to have been released if he were not brought to
trial, Magnitsky died for reasons attributed first by prison officials as a
"rupture to the abdominal membrane" and later to a heart
attack. It later emerged that Magnitsky had complained of worsening
stomach pain for five days prior to his death and that by the 15th was vomiting
every three hours, with a visibly swollen stomach. On the day of his
death, the prison physician, believing he had a chronic disease, sent him by
ambulance to and later transferred to Matrosskaya Tishina prison's medical unit
equipped to help him, but the surgeon there — who described Magnitsky as
"agitated, trying to hide behind a bag and saying people were trying to
kill him" — prescribed only a painkiller, leaving him for psychiatric
evaluation. He was found dead in his cell a little over two hours later.
According to Ludmila Alekseeva, leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Magnitsky had died
from being beaten and tortured by several officers of the Russian Ministry of
Interior. The official death certificate stated "closed cerebral
cranial injury" as the cause of death (in addition to the other conditions
mentioned above) and the post-mortem examination showed numerous bruises and /ounds on legs and hands. Another post-mortem from 2011 summarized the death as
being caused by "traumatic application of the blunt hard object
(objects)" as confirmed by "abrasions, ecchymomas, blood effusions
into the soft tissues".
Matthews described his suffering in Moscow's Butyrka prison.
[Magnitsky's] heartbreaking prison diary, investigators repeatedly tried to
persuade him to give testimony against Hermitage and drop the accusations
against the police and tax authorities. When Magnitsky refused, he was moved to
more and more horrible sections of the prison, and ultimately denied the
medical treatment which could have saved his life.
Sergei left his own
detailed hand-written account of the pressure and suffering he experienced at
the hands of his captors. His complaints about his treatment read like a
modern-day Gulag Archipelago. The persecution of Sergei Magnitsky by state
officials he accused by means of torture and murder is documented in
independent findings by Russian and international human rights organizations,
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament,
the US Department of State, the US Government Helsinki Commission, and many
others. read more: