A Moscow court on Monday postponed the preliminary hearing for the posthumous trial of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky's defense lawyer was appointed by the court after his family and lawyers refused to attend the trial, claiming the charges against Magnitsky were politically motivated [Reuters report]. Magnitsky was jailed on tax evasion and fraud charges. He died while in jail in 2009, with relatives claiming that he did not receive adequate treatment for his poor health. Russian authorities maintain that Magnitsky died from a hearth attack. The court postponed Magnitsky's hearing to February 18 after his defense lawyers failed to appear in court on Monday.
In December, a Moscow court acquitted [JURIST report] prison doctor Dmitry Kratov of all charges stemming from Magnitsky's. A Russian judge found that there was no evidence showing a causal link between Kratov's negligence and Magnitsky's death. Kratov was the head of medical services at Butyrka Prison, where Magnitsky died from untreated pancreatitis. An investigation conducted by Russia's Presidential Council on Human Rights concluded [JURIST report] that in addition to being denied medical treatment Magnitsky had been severely beaten during his year long pretrial incarceration. Kratov was accused of negligence for allegedly refusing to respond to repeated requests by Magnitsky to treat his life-threatening condition. Magnitsky's death while in custody has caused a rift in Russia's relationship with the US.