Russia Blocks Autopsy on Jailed Lawyer

Authorities accused of denying activist attorney care
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2009 4:54 AM CST
Magnitsky developed pancreatitis while being held in Moscow's Burtyrka prison.   (Burtyrka Prison)

(Newser) – Friends of an anti-corruption lawyer who died in a Moscow prison this week accuse the government of denying him medical care and say authorities have refused to release his body for an independent autopsy. Sergei Magnitsky, 37, died after spending almost a year in jail in squalid conditions awaiting trial on tax evasion charges, the Telegraph reports.

His associates say authorities trumped up the charges and denied him medical care in an effort to force him to fabricate evidence against his firm, owned by an investor who has campaigned against official corruption. "They took a healthy guy, imprisoned him without cause, put him in such horrific conditions that he got a severe illness," a managing partner at the firm said. "Then they denied him medical care."