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Council Names Names in Magnitsky Case

The Kremlin human rights council has implicated a group of law enforcement and judiciary officials in the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in pretrial detention in 2009.

The report, which sums up an independent investigation and was posted on the council's web site Wednesday, lists among the officials: investigators Oleg Silchenko, Artyom Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov, Moscow district Judge Sergei Podoprigorov and prison doctor Alexandra Gaus.

Despite naming the officials, the report does not explicitly blame any of them of wrongdoing, citing a parallel ongoing inquiry by the Investigative Committee. Many of the officials have also been accused of wrongdoing by Hermitage. No one has been charged in connection with the death.

Magnitsky accused Interior Ministry officers Artyom Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov of participating in a $230 million tax refund fraud and was subsequently arrested by those same officers on charges of organizing tax evasion. He died of health problems after 11 months in jail, at which point the Interior Ministry accused him of organizing the $230 million theft that he reported. His supporters say the case was fabricated by Interior Ministry officials whom he had previously accused of embezzling the $230 million.

The Kremlin council's report stresses that the investigators who carried out the inquiry against Magnitsky should not have been involved in the case because they were the same people Magnitsky had accused of fraud. It says Magnitsky was intentionally denied medical help during the last days of his life.

The report also says it is a "feasible suspicion" that Magnitsky died because he was beaten by prison guards shortly before his death.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who ordered the council's inquiry, has not commented publicly on the findings. Neither have the implicated officials, some of whom have dismissed wrongdoing earlier.

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