Russian ministry: lawyer was fine before death

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 1:28 PM

Russian investigators have defended their treatment of a lawyer whose death in a Moscow prison last week has prompted deep concern and criticism.

Sergei Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 on tax-evasion accusations linked to his work with a company headed by a high-profile investor who has been barred from Russia as an alleged security risk.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday ordered a high-level probe into Magnitsky's death.

Colleagues say Magnitsky entered jail healthy and died after being denied medical attention despite repeated pleas.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry's Investigative Committee claimed Wednesday that investigators did not know Magnitsky was ill and suggested that he felt fine before his death.