European Parliamentarians Urge Proper Investigation of Magnitsky Death

NEW YORK—The Open Society Justice Initiative has welcomed today’s resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), urging the Russian authorities to fully investigate the death in custody four years ago of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. 

The PACE resolution, entitled “Refusing impunity for the killers of Sergei Magnitsky,” is based on a comprehensive report on  Magnitsky’s death by Swiss parliamentarian Andreas Gross.

The report includes evidence from a forensic medical review of Magnitsky’s case, carried out by the International Forensic Program of Physicians for Human Rights. The forensic review was commissioned by the Justice Initiative, to support a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights by Magnitsky’s mother over her son's death.

James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, welcomed the PACE resolution, which passed with 151 delegates voting in favor, 25 against, and 10 abstentions:

“The PACE report underscores that the abuses Mr Magnitsky suffered, grave in their own right, are emblematic of profound systemic deficiencies in the administration of justice in Russia.”

The forensic medical review cited in the report concluded that his critical condition would have led to “excruciating pain”, and would have been apparent and easily treatable by any competent doctor.

It concludes that "the decision by the authorities at Matrosskaya Tishina prison to physically restrain Magnitsky, keep him in a cell for two hours, while denying standard medical treatment, resulted in his death.”