Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Putting the dead and the virtual on trial

Moscow plans to put dead lawyer on trial according to the FT.

This sounds like one of those bizarre stories you might see in the Fortean Times, involving an old Russian mystic and a seance. In reality, it's more surreal than spooky.

From what I can tell, the lawyer in question, and the company he worked for, accused the Russian Police of tax fraud. He was then charged and locked up in pre-trial detention, where he died from "lack of medical attention" (to put it mildly). A human rights group found the charges against him had been fabricated. His family and the company are now raising charges against Russian authorities, who in turn are threatening to still take him to trial.

Is anything about this actually "real" any more? Or is this some crazy future vision, where the truth can be easily obscured in a battle of finger pointing, redactions, threats and virtual references?

Can you sue a company? A dead person? A philosophy?

The Wikipedia page on Magnitsky explains the whole thing in far more intricate and depressing detail. Is it actually preferable to live in a concocted world than to face up to details like these?


phil jones said...

Well, if you can issue a posthumous pardon, why not a posthumous conviction?

Scribe said...

True, look what happened to Cromwell. The interplay between the body, the identity, and "justice" is rich and hilarious, and actually seems to mirror that between power and sovereignty in some ways.

Can anything that uses the body as a symbol rather than a body be said to be acting under a "higher power"? Must the state deal with the dead in order to detach itself from physicality?