Magnitsky prison death caused by criminal acts: Medvedev

5th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The death in prison of Western fund attorney Sergei Magnitsky was caused by criminal acts, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev said Tuesday, according to the official Itar-Tass news agency.

"The case of Magnitsky is a very sad case, for this man is dead, and in all likelihood, there were certain criminal actions that led to this result," Medvedev said during a human rights council meeting at the Kremlin.

A commissioner on the rights panel told Medvedev on Tuesday that a report into Magnitsky's 2009 death revealed many inconsistencies about how and why he died.

"People should not die in prison. If they are sick, they should leave prison to be treated, after which the courts can make a decision about their fate," Medvedev said.

Arrested for fraud in November 2009, the 37-year-old lawyer had been detained at a Moscow prison, but was transferred to another facility shortly before he died of heart failure.

Before his arrest, Magnitsky had accused police and interior ministry officials of running a complicated swindle through which they received more than $200 million (140 million euros) in returns on taxes.

In his prison journal that became public, he recounted the terrible conditions of prison life, including hunger, cold temperatures and appalling access to medical care.

© 2011 AFP

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