#19 - JRL 2009-210 - JRL Home
Subject: Press Release: Facts Behind the Death of Hermitage Lawyer Sergey Magnitskiy
From: Katie Fisher <Katie.Fisher@hermitagefund.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 15:04:54 +0000


Death of Hermitage Lawyer in Russian Prison

17 November 2009 - Last night Sergey Magnitskiy, a 37-year old legal adviser and father of two, died in Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

Since 2007, Sergey Magnitskiy was defending the Hermitage Fund and HSBC against serious frauds perpetrated with the involvement of Russian officials. Sergey Magnitskiy gave formal testimonies naming officers of the Interior Ministry and their role in the seizure of Hermitage Fund/HSBC companies. Shortly after his testimony, on 24 November 2008, Sergey Magnitskiy was arrested by the team of the same Interior Ministry officers named in his testimony.

Sergey Magnitskiy was refused bail and kept in detention for a year without trial. Yesterday, Sergey's lawyers came to see him at a planned investigative procedure at Butyrka detention center and were denied access to him. The lawyers were told Sergey could not leave his cell because of his state of health. Investigators Oleinik and Silchenko refused to show a medical report about Sergey's health to his lawyers, stating it was an "internal matter".

Sergey's mother was the first to find out about the death of her son this morning. She came to Butyrka detention center to give him some personal items and was told that her son had been transferred to a different detention facility, the Matrosskaya Tishina center, the previous day. When she then went to Matrosskaya Tishina, she was told that her son was dead.

Sergey's lawyers were told that Sergey Magnitskiy died of a rupture to the abdominal membrane around 9:00 pm on 16 November 2009 and that his body was transferred to the 11th Morgue in Moscow.

Sergey Magnitskiy was kept in pre-trial detention for a year and denied by Investigator Silchenko the ability to see his mother and his wife and speak to his children for the entire time of his detention. He was transferred between four detention centers and his detention conditions progressively deteriorated. Numerous complaints by Sergey Magnitskiy and his lawyers about the physical and psychological pressure exerted on him, the legal breaches during the pre-trial investigation, the obstruction to his defence and the inhuman and degrading conditions in detention, were left unaddressed.

Additionally, Sergey Magnitskiy wrote a 40-page complaint to General Prosecutor Chaika describing a serious medical condition which developed in detention, the on-going and regular denial of medical treatment which resulted in a serious worsening of his health, and pleaded for access to medical attention. There was no response to his complaint.

"I would like to express my shock and sadness at the passing of Sergey Magnitskiy. Sergey was a brilliant and honourable lawyer known by all whom met him as a diligent professional and a committed family man. I know I speak for all the staff of Hermitage Capital when I say that both Sergey and his family are in our hearts at this time. He and the ideals he stood for will not be forgotten," said CEO of Hermitage Capital William Browder.

Lawyers will conduct an independent investigation into his death.

For further information, please contact:
Hermitage Capital Management
Phone: +44 (0)20 7440 1777
Email: info@hermitagefund.com

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