Russian lawyer's mom urges new look into his death

MOSCOW -- The mother of a whistleblowing Russian lawyer who died in prison made an emotional appeal Tuesday for a new inquiry into his death while testifying against a former prison doctor.

Struggling to keep her composure, Natalya Magnitskaya _ whose son Sergei Magnitsky died in jail of untreated pancreatitis in 2009 _ demanded that prosecutors file new charges against several Russian officials she says are responsible for his death.

Former prison doctor Dmitry Kratov is the only official to be charged with Magnitsky's death. He denies the charges of negligent homicide, citing a staff shortage.

Magnitskaya accused authorities of covering up for officials who denied her son's hundreds of formal pleas for release on medical grounds. He died at age 37 before he could be brought to trial.

"My son wasn't a killer or a rapist, but they put him in a cage, and Kratov is out on bail," she said. Magnitskaya said Kratov had allowed her son to be tortured in jail.

Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 by the same Interior Ministry officials whom he accused of using false tax documents to steal $230 million from the state.

An investigation by Russia's presidential council on human rights concluded that Magnitsky was severely beaten and denied medical treatment while in jail.

U.S. lawmakers have drafted legislation named after Magnitsky that would impose sanctions on Russian officials involved in human rights violations. The bill is not expected to come up for a vote before the end of the year.

Russia's government strongly opposes the bill and has vowed to retaliate if it is passed.