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Facing worldwide criticism over whistleblower's death, Russia prepares to try him posthumously

Russia is preparing to put lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on trial, even though he is dead, in the latest twist in a case that has severely strained U.S.-Russian relations.

Magnitsky, a lawyer for the Hermitage Capital fund, died in jail in 2009 after accusing Russian officials of colluding in stealing $230 million from the state. He was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion by the same Interior Ministry officials he accused.

His death became an international cause-celebre and the United States passed a law in his name calling for sanctions on Russians accused of involvement in the fraud.

Russia took deep offense and retaliated with measures including banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

A Moscow court on Monday set preliminary hearings in the posthumous trial for Feb. 18.