The death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in pre-trial custody was likely to have been caused by a beating, the Kremlin's human rights council said in a report on Wednesday.
Magnitsky – a lawyer for the equity fund Hermitage Capital - died after almost a year in a notorious Moscow pre-trial detention centre in November 2009. He had been arrested on tax evasion charges just days after claiming that police investigators had stolen $230 million from the state.
Human rights activists and his former colleagues allege the officers he had accused were involved in his death, which was originally said to have been the result of “heart failure.”
"Before his death, Magnitsky was completely deprived of medical help. There are also grounds to suspect that Magnitsky's death was the result of a beating," the report, presented to Medvedev on Tuesday, said.
"His relatives later discovered that he had broken fingers and bruises on his body. What is more, there is no medical record for the last hour of his life," the report also said.
The council also accused a judge of unjustly sending Magnitsky to a pre-trial detention centre. It also said the tax fraud charges brought against him were likely to have been false.
Medvedev has not commented on the report, which will now go to investigators.
On Tuesday he said that the 37-year-old lawyer’s death was “a crime.”
“The Magnitsky incident is, of course, very sad,” Medvedev said after a meeting with the presidential civil and human rights council in the North Caucasus city of Nalchik. “Sad because he died and sad because it seems that, judging by everything, there really was some crime committed that- at the very least - led to this.”
Magnitsky’s death saw both a domestic and international outcry.
No one has yet been prosecuted, although Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Monday that charges would soon be brought against those responsible for the lawyer’s death.