U.S. Senate Committee backs Magnitsky blacklist
une 27 - RAPSI. The U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would impose sanctions on Russian officials allegedly linked to Hermitage Capital consultant Sergei Magnitsky’s death in 2009.
The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of 37-year-old Russian lawyer, as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.
The act that Russia strongly objects to has broad support in Congress but the Barack Obama administration does not look too enthusiastic about it.
Magnitsky was charged with involvement in a large-scale corporate tax evasion. He died in a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009, after spending nearly a year behind bars.
According to investigators, Magnitsky and his accomplices stole hundreds of millions of rubles from the state by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.
In turn, Hermitage Capital maintained that it had paid 5.4 billion rubles ($186.5 million) in taxes, but the money was stolen abetted by law enforcement officials. Magnitsky's prosecution has been attributed to this theft.
Rights activists pointed to multiple violations of his rights during his arrest and in detention, including signs that he was beaten by prison guards hours before his death.
Russia has warned that it would respond to the adoption of the bill in kind, imposing restrictions on U.S. officials.