The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday held that Russia committed numerous human rights violations against Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of maltreatment.
Among various violations, the unanimous decision found that the authorities deprived Magnitsky of important medical care and had failed to comply with their duty to protect his life. The court further noted that Magnitsky was held in conditions of severe overcrowding and was not provided an individual sleeping space.
The court rejected a complaint that Magnitsky’s arrest was not based on a reasonable suspicion of a crime and that the authorities had lacked impartiality, ultimately finding that the authorities had the right to suspect him of tax evasion. Nevertheless, the court ordered Russia to pay Magnitskiy’s widow and mother €34,000 (USD $38,000) after they took the case before the court in Strasbourg after his death.
Magnitskiy was the head of tax at the Moscow legal and audit firm Firestone Duncan. Its clients included the Russian subsidiaries of the Hermitage Fund, at the time the largest foreign investment fund in Russia. Magnitsky was placed under arrest in November 2008 and was charged with two counts of aggravated tax evasion.