Sergei Magnitsky was not your average human rights activist or anti-corruption crusader. He was just another Russian lawyer working as a tax specialist at a Moscow law firm. Yet when he uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history -committed by government officials- he became a whistleblower who paid the ultimate price. He died on November 16, 2009, doubled over in pain, lying in a straitjacket in the notorious Butyrka detention centre in Moscow.
The death of Sergei Magnitsky fuelled international outrage, but inside Russia the corrupt government officials responsible were never brought to justice. Now, for the first time, Magnitsky’s family and friends go on record to tell the story of an ordinary man who dared to confront corruption at the highest levels. When it became clear the investigation he conducted came at great personal risk, six of his fellow lawyers had to flee the country. Magnitsky was urged by friends to leave his homeland as well, but he declined. “This is my country. I will not accept such lawlessness. I will fight it,” he said.
Magnitsky uncovered a complicated scheme of tax fraud and exposed the Russian government officials responsible. He paid a price, however, when the officials he testified against arrested him and sent him to pre-trial detention. Thus began a nightmare in which an innocent man was thrown into a prison cell without bail or trial and systematically tortured for one year in an attempt to force him to retract his testimony.
Despite the physical and psychological pain Magntisky endured from his captors, he refused to perjure himself even as his health broke down. Denied medical care for the last six months of his detention, his body finally gave out and he died at age 37. Prison officials rejected all requests for an independent autopsy, but the bruises on Magnitsky’s body made it appear his final hours were spent in agony.
The Wall Street Journal described Magnitsky’s death as a “slow assassination” and the independent Moscow Public Oversight Committee called it a “murder to conceal a fraud.” Bowing to public pressure, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation, but a year after it began, still not a single person has been held responsible.
Now, for the first time, Sergei’s family and friends go on record to tell the story of a man who continued to fight for the rule of law even during his wrongful incarceration. Justice for Sergei is the incredible tale of one individual who went up against the power of a state and lost his life in the face of devastating corruption.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?