Working as a tax attorney in Moscow, Sergei Magnitksy uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history and blew the whistle on the Russian government officials responsible. He paid a price, however, when the officials he testified against arrested him and sent him to pre-trial detention. Thus began a nightmare in which an innocent man was thrown into a prison cell without bail or trial and systematically tortured for one year in an attempt to force him to retract his testimony.
Despite the physical and psychological pain Sergei Magntisky endured from his captors, he refused to perjure himself even as his health broke down. Denied medical care for the last six months of his detention, his body finally gave out and he died on the evening of November 16, 2009. Prison officials rejected
all requests for an independent autopsy but, by the bruises on Sergei’s body, it was evident that his final hours were spent in agony.
The Wall Street Journal described Magnitsky’s death as a "slow assassination." The Moscow Public Oversight Committee called it a “murder to conceal a fraud.” Bowing to public pressure, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation but a year after it began, still not a single person has been held responsible.