Dead Men Don’t Blow Whistles: Russians Prosecute Dead Lawyer

220px-Sergei_Magnitsky225px-Vladimir_Putin_official_portraitVladimir Putin has worked hard to maintain his carefully constructed image of a macho authoritarian figure, including sending away the members of Pussy Riot for speaking out against him and his alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church. However, he continues to distinguish himself among budding dictators. For example, anyone can prosecute whistle-blowing lawyers. China continually does it. Iran does it. However, Russia is prosecuting a whistle-blowing lawyer after he died. Now that is a tough guy.


Russia has been denounced internationally for its jailing and prosecution of Sergei L. Magnitsky (left), the whistleblowing lawyer. However, Magnitsky, 37, mysteriously died in a Moscow jail three years ago, but that does not mean he cannot still be punished.

Prosecutors arrested Magnitsky on tax evasion charges widely viewed as a manufactured case to stop his investigation of the alleged theft of Russian officials of hundreds of millions of dollars in a tax case. The charging of Magnitsky of tax fraud was widely viewed as a signal that such whistleblowers will gain little from raising corruption except a criminal charge. Supporters say that he was beaten in custody and died of a heart attack.

Notably, not only can Magnitsky not speak for himself, the Russian have banned his co-defendant, William F. Browder, the manager of the Hermitage Capital hedge fund, from entering Russia since 2005.

The defendants chairs simply remained unoccupied in the courtroom — superfluous to the real purpose of the trial to punish those who criticize the regime or its supporters.

Judge Igor B. Alisov, however, has ordered a delay to allow the appointment of public defenders for the dead man and banished man since their lawyers wisely refused to appear.

Presumably, Alisov decided to continue to the trial after hearing no objections from the defendants.

Source: NYT

Kudos: Vladimir Semendyai

13 thoughts on “Dead Men Don’t Blow Whistles: Russians Prosecute Dead Lawyer

  1. “Mr. Browder maintains that the case is instead intended to intimidate members of Mr. Magnitsky’s family and discourage them from pressing for prosecutions in his death.” -from the linked NY Times article

    Oh, what a world…

  2. I have some friends that work for the IMF…… For some reason, they have been advised not to come back to the Soviet Union…. They are taking ques….. And not….. Try and renter the country…. Something about the discovery of discreprency in the oil reported produced….

  3. Kangaroo court

    Time for the Russian citizens to vote in some new leadership. Wishfull thinking on my part for certain.

  4. I wonder if one could bifurcate the defense in this case between violation of his civil rights or violation of his human liberties. He has a liberty interest under the First Amendment in Russia to blow the whistle and petition his government for redress of grievances. So, is this a civil right? The distinctions blur me. JT: please chimne in. Oh, and do they have a First Amendment in Russia?

  5. @Darren Smith’Kangaroo court’ speaking of animals
    -the GreatWhiteNorth’s Marineland Whistleblowers/animal defenders are drowning:’To date, 15 ex-employees have bravely spoken out about Marineland’s poor treatment of animals; and now the corporation has taken legal action against one.
    On Oct 17th, Christine Santos was fired after not signing a document that included a statement she’d never seen animal abuse at the park. Shortly thereafter, Marineland served a $1.25 million defamation lawsuit against the former trainer for telling the Toronto Star a killer whale was sporadically bleeding from its tail […]
    http://www.indiegogo.com/marinelandabuse

  6. Putin is in power because of religious natioinaism. Those who criticize him are made out as unpatriotic, of not “supporting the commander in chief”. You know, the things that far rightwingers in the U.S. said when Bush II was in office. The Russian Orthodox church also helps control the government. We aren’t the only nation with a religious rightwing problem, it is even worse in Russia, where the right of gay rights activists and supporters to protest for gay rights will soon be banned. Putin might not be as bad a Russian tyrant as Stalin, but he is at least as bad as all of them who came after him.

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