Zombie justice

By From page A6 | July 26, 2013

Only a country that has kept Vladimir Lenin’s embalmed body on view for nearly 90 years could convict the dead.

Yes, Vladimir Putin’s Russia recent held a trial and convicted a man it had already killed in prison. Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009. Last year Congress passed the Magnisky Act, which bans 18 named persons associated with his death from entering the U.S. or using its banking system.

Magnitsky, an auditor and lawyer, was investigating fraud committed by the Russian government against Hermitage Capital Management. The firm’s co-founder William Browder was deported from Russia in 2005. The same court sentenced him in absentia to nine years in prison.

In 2007 authorities raided Hermitage’s offices as well as the company Magnitsky worked for. They made off with all the corporate seals and documents, which wound up in the hands of the Russian mafia. Using forged contracts they claimed Hermitage owed $1 billion to shell companies. The fake debt was certified by the courts and the company looked worthless, which enabled it to get a $230 million refund from the Russian government.

This is what Magnitsky uncovered and why he was arrested by one of these crooked cops. Imprisoned for 11 months he developed gall stones, pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis. Being beaten and moved into increasingly worse jail cells added to the deterioration of his health. On the day of his death he was sent to a hospital. The surgeon gave him a pain killer and left him for psychiatric evaluation. He died two hours later.

And now the Russian legal system has convicted a dead man. Putin, who notably has the same first name as Lenin, in an April TV interview said there was “neither evil intent nor criminal negligence” in relation to Magnitsky’s death. And that’s zombie justice.

Mountain Democrat

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