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Posthumous Trial For Magnitsky To Go Ahead
When the case of the state vs Sergei Magnitsky is called in a Moscow courtroom later, the defendant will not be in the dock - he has been dead for more than three years.
In a case that has been compared to the show trials of Stalin, Russia is pressing ahead with the posthumous prosecution of a whistle-blowing lawyer.
At the time of his death Mr Magnitsky was investigating what he believed was a massive tax fraud - worth around £150m - targeting both the British-based investment fund he was working for and the Russian state.
He went public with his evidence in October 2008, naming several senior police and tax officials, but the next month he was arrested.
The 37-year-old was held without trial for almost a year, during which time he became seriously ill - he lost 40lb and was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallstones - but despite repeated written requests he was denied medical treatment.
Mr Magnitsky said he felt he was being physically and psychologically pressured to withdraw his testimony, but he refused - instead he documented the conditions he was being held, describing raw sewage overflowing from the toilet in one cell and the sound of rats running along the corridors at night.
On November 16, 2009 - his 358th day in custody - he was transferred by ambulance to a prison hospital, but instead of being admitted to intensive care he was taken to an isolation room.
Later that night he was found dead on the floor of the cell.
No-one in Russia has been convicted over the death, which the country's justice minister has called a "tragic accident", but Mr Magnitsky's family believe there was nothing accidental about it.
Natalya Magnitskaya, his mother, showed Sky News photos of injuries to Mr Magnitsky's hands and wrists, taken during his funeral, which appear to show deep cuts and bruises.
His family believe that he was either being beaten, or struggling in pain whilst wearing handcuffs.
Speaking at his graveside, she said the posthumous prosecution was a cruel attempt to blacken her son's name, and smear his memory.
She explained: "He became a victim of the system, but they couldn't crush him, they failed to humiliate him.
"He was a person with self-respect, I think the hardest part of his ordeal was not the physical sufferings, but the moral suffering from attempts to humiliate him, from attempts to make him lie, to falsely incriminate others, to admit a crime he never did.
"But he stayed true to himself till the end. He never gave in. He stayed just as he was until the very last minute."
Amnesty International has condemned the trial as "farcical" and a "sinister new chapter in Russia's worsening human rights record", violating Mr Magnitsky's fundamental rights, in particular the right to defend himself in person.
A group of 10 French politicians wrote to Russian authorities on Friday demanding an end to the "grim comedy" - and calling for the "ongoing harassment and suffering caused to his mother and widow" to stop.
Mrs Magnitskaya said: "It's awful, I feel like I am in a bad dream. What is happening is so wild and unbelievable and so, so cruel.
"The person is dead - he can't defend himself and he is being prosecuted. I can't explain it logically, it just doesn't make sense."
The US passed a law last year banning all those suspected of involvement with Mr Magnitsky's death from travelling to, or holding assets in the States, and his former colleagues are campaigning for similar sanctions in Europe.
Many analysts believe this posthumous trial is an attempt to discredit Mr Magnitsky and dissuade other countries from following the US example and imposing similar visa bans.