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Russia Prosecutes Dead Guy

Adding insult to injury. Lawyer Sergei L. Magnitsky was investigating the kleptocratic habits of the Russian state when the regime poked back. His supporters claim he was beaten and refused medical treatment in prison... and so he died.

But death wasn't enough for the regime.

Judge Igor B. Alisov promptly postponed the trial because the defendants did not appear in the courtroom — as expected — but neither did lawyers representing their interests.

Posthumous criminal cases are rare in international practice, most often allowed only when relatives want to clear the name of a suspect, and rarely at the behest of the police, criminal law experts say. When a suspect dies, the question of guilt or innocence is usually rendered moot.

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