European Court of Human Rights orders Russia to pay Magnitsky’s family €34,000

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Russia to pay €34,000 to the widow and mother of Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky.

“The court has found Russia guilty of violating several points of the European Convention, including that it did not safeguard Magnitsky’s right to life and did not conduct a fair investigation of the circumstances of his death,” the court ruling states.

The court also ruled that Magnitsky’s detention in the Matrosskaya Tishina prison was unreasonably long, and violated his right to liberty and safety. Compensation must be paid to his widow Natalia Zharikova and mother Natalia Magnitskaya.

The Russian Ministry of Justice told the Interfax news agency that it is investigating the ECHR’s decision. The decision whether to pay or appeal the ruling “will be made based on the results of the investigation in the established three month period”.

In 2008, Sergei Magnitsky exposed a large-scale scheme in Russia to embezzle state funds through illicit tax refunds, coordinated by both politicians and law enforcement officials. He was subsequently accused of assisting Bill Browder, founder of Hermitage Capital, in tax evasion.

On November 16, 2009, after 11 months of pre-trial detention, Magnitsky died in prison hospital. The tax advisor’s death caused international outrage and was the reason the US enacted the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which imposed personal sanctions on the persons believed responsible for the human rights violations. Canada and Lithuania later adopted similar acts.

  Magnitsky, Russia, European Court of Human Rights