In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption crusader who had alleged large-scale theft by state officials, died after 11 months in police custody during which he was subjected to torture and medical neglect.
In 2011, a team of PHR forensic experts conducted the first independent evaluation of the Magnitsky case and concluded that his death was the result of cumulative inhumane treatment and deliberate and calculated medical neglect. The investigation also found that the official Russian autopsy protocol was significantly inconsistent with international best practices and appeared to be a deliberate attempt to prevent justice in the case. These findings were used to support the 2012 passage of the Magnitsky Act, which placed sanctions on Russians involved in the torture and death of Magnitsky. Since 2016 the bill, which applies globally, authorizes the U.S. government to sanction human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the United States.
Since Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict in 2015 on the side of the Assad government, PHR has repeatedly condemned Russian attacks on health care facilities and other civilian targets and has called on Russian medical professionals to demand that their government ease the health care crisis in Syria.