Petitions Requesting a Real Investigation into Magnitsky’s Arrest, Torture and Murder Are Ignored

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Valery Borschev, Head of Moscow Prison Oversight Commission

Despite overwhelming evidence that Sergei Magnitsky was falsely arrested and that torturous and deadly conditions were intentionally created for him by the Interior Ministry in pre-trial detention, the Russian authorities simply refuse to investigate these issues and prosecute responsible state officials. The officials responsible for Magnitsky’s murder not only remain in positions of power but they continue to call Magnitsky’s death “sudden” and an “accident.” They continue to publicly deny that they intentionally deprived him of medical care and pressured him in pre-trial detention.

Any complaint made to the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor’s Office (responsible for investigating actions by state officials in Russia) regarding the false arrest of Sergei Magnitsky, the intentional creation of torturous and deadly conditions, or the investigation of Interior Ministry officers’ corruption is simply ignored and answered with a standard:

“Sergei Magnitsky was legally arrested. There was no evidence of pressure in detention. An investigation has been opened regarding negligence.”

Everyone who has written to the General Prosecutor’s Office has noticed that despite the public’s outrage and the President’s involvement, the General Prosecutor’s Office simply refuses to even consider investigating these issues. Some of the petitions and complaints filed with the General Prosecutor’s office and other Russian government bodies – together with the answers received – are found below.

1) Petition Filed by Ludmila Alekseyeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, to the Investigative Committee of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office (26 March 2010)

Ludmila Alekseeva, Head of Moscow Helsinki Group

The Moscow Helsinki Group is Russia’s oldest independent human rights organization. This petition calls for the opening of a criminal case against Interior Ministry officers for the murder of Sergei Magnitsky under several Articles of the Russian Criminal Code: Murder Committed to Conceal Crime; Murder Committed with Special Cruelty; Unlawful Arrest, Detention and Prosecution; Torture; and Forcing False Testimony. The complaint describes how 37 year-old Sergei Magnitsky was falsely arrested and systematically tortured to death by Interior Ministry officers whom he had testified against for the theft of $230 million.
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2) Official Reply from the Investigative Committee of the General Prosecutor’s Office to the Petition filed by Ludmila Alekseyeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group (8 April 2010)
In response to Ms Alekseyeva’s petition to open a criminal case about the murder of Sergei Magnitsky in detention, the Investigative Committee informs her that they forwarded her petition to a lower branch of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow since “the reported information has not yet been considered by them” and where it will undergo “checks” and will receive a “timely response in case of possible violation of the law.” According to Russian law, petitions about a criminal case must be decided within three days upon receipt. As of June 2010, Ms Alekseyeva still has not received a substantive response.
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Alexey Navalny, Russian Anti-Corruption Lawyer

3) Petition Filed by Alexey Navalny, a Russian Activist, with the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office (2 February 2010)
Below is Alexey Navalny’s description of the second complaint he filed regarding Magnitsky and the actual answer he received from the Russian General Prosecutor’s office. Navalny, who is one of Russia’s foremost anti-corruption crusaders, explains in his blog of 20 April 2010 ( that he once again specifically asked the General Prosecutor’s office to investigate reports that, Magnitsky was falsely arrested and that “Money was brought to Department K of the FSB according to statement made to the New Times by an informed source in the Interior Ministry. The price of the question: $6 million. FSB officers oversaw the process, but immediate implementation of the process was entrusted to the investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Interior Ministry. Specifically, investigator Oleg Silchenko.” He then posts the answer he receives, from Mr. Andrei Pechegin of the General Prosecutor’s Office, which is in effect a refusal to investigate. Navalny points out that the reply once again, entirely ignores all of the questions he asked them to investigate and simply states that Magnitsky was prosecuted legally, and there is a criminal case regarding “negligence”.
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