Trying a dead man for fraud
In (Post-Soviet) Russia, First They Kill You, Then They Try You
Russian news headlines frequently walk the fine line between plausibility and The Onion. This week is no different: Russia is trying a dead man for fraud.
Posted by Jill Fallon at February 19, 2013 11:02 PM
Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor who exposed a $230 million tax fraud by Russian police and officials and was then thrown into prison, tortured, and killed nearly a year later, will now finally get his long-awaited trial. The move is seen as a pushback by the Russian government against the Magnitsky Act, which black-listed the Russian officials involved in the scandal. As the FT reports many observers believe this is little more than an attempt to further blacken his name:
“First, there is the statute of limitations, secondly, [Magnitsky] had nothing to do with the company in question, and thirdly, he’s dead,” said Mr Browder, who said the trial showed that there was “absolute desperation in the government of Russia to try to blacken Magnitsky’s name after the Magnitsky law was passed in the United States”.
This sounds right; with the defendant not only absent but killed before trial, justice will not be served. Instead, the world is likely to watch a show-trial aimed directly at consolidating Russian public opinion behind the Kremlin.