The charges against Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody in 2009, were fabricated, according to preliminary results of an inquest conducted by the Russian presidential council on human rights, a council member told the Russian Kommersant FM radio station on Tuesday.
"The inquest has not been completed yet; this is a preliminary result and it is very important," Valery Borshchev said in a live interview with the radio station. Magnitsky's imprisonment did not have legal grounds, he said.
Magnitsky, who was defending British investment company Hermitage Capital Management against tax evasion charges, died aged 37 in a Moscow pre-trial detention facility after being refused medical treatment for pancreatitis.
His death triggered an international outcry amid concerns that his imprisonment could have been the result of official abuses. Although President Dmitry Medvedev fired several senior prison officials over Magnitsky's death and pledged a full investigation, no one has been prosecuted so far.
Another member of the presidential human rights council, former Russian Constitutional Court Judge Tamara Morshchakova, said "we can obviously say that lawlessness abounded in the Magnitsky case."
Yelena Panfilova, the head of the Transparency International's Russian branch, said the inquest was only 90 percent complete, saying it was "too early" to make conclusions.
MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti)