As Russia convicts dead whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, the man convicted alongside him in absentia has spoken out about the latest chapter of a long, sad tale.
Magnitsky died back in 2009, in prison, just ahead of the expiration of a year-long period he could be held without a conviction.
When the Russian whistleblower died at the age of 37, international outcry over the man’s death in jail was widespread. Post-mortem testing revealed, among other things, that Magnitsky had been beaten just before his death.
Interestingly, Magnitsky’s death in the Russian whistleblowing scandal also had far-reaching effects on international relations:
“His case has become an international cause célèbre and led to the adoption of the Magnitsky bill by the US government at the end of 2012 by which those Russian officials believed to be involved in the lawyer’s death were barred from entering the United States or using its banking system. In response Russia blocked hundreds of foreign adoptions.”
Today, Sergei Magnitsky was found guilty of fraud, but the dead Russian whistleblower was spared sentencing in light of his death. William Browder, convicted in absentia alongside Magnitsky, commented from London on the development:
Today’s verdict will go down in history as one of the most shameful moments for Russia since the days of Joseph Stalin… This is the first conviction of a dead man in Europe in the last ten centuries.
“The desperation behind this move shows the lengths that Putin is ready to go to to retaliate against anyone who expose the stealing and corruption he presides over… When the Putin regime ultimately falls, future generations of Russians will be naming streets and monuments after Sergei Magnitsky for his heroism and sacrifice.”
With news Russia convicted the dead whistleblower, Browder says that the most horrible part is “the malicious pain that the Russian government is ready to inflict on the grieving family of a man who was killed for standing up to government corruption and police abuse.”