US presses Russia to prosecute in case of lawyer's death

17th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States on Tuesday renewed calls for Russia to prosecute all those responsible for the death in jail one year ago of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Washington marked with "sadness" the anniversary of Magnitsky's death, due to "apparent medical neglect in pre-trial detention in Moscow's Butyrskaya Prison," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

"While we welcome President (Dmitry) Medvedev's statements of support of judicial reform and the rule of law, we note with regret that no one has been charged in connection with this case despite a justice ministry investigation."

Crowley added that Washington continued to call for Russian authorities "to prosecute all responsible for Mr Magnitsky's death and protect the fundamental rights of all, including those in prison."

Russia on Tuesday ordered a new forensic probe into the lawyer's death, which his supporters contend was caused by dire conditions at the notorious prison.

Magnitsky, who had been charged with tax evasion in a highly-complex financial case, died on November 16, 2009 after a year in pre-trial detention without ever being convicted of a crime.

Activists have highlighted the case as one of the most flagrant rights violations in Russia in recent years and have claimed Magnitsky was left to die by officials whose wrongdoings he dared to expose.

© 2010 AFP

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