U.S. House Panel approves ’Magnitsky’ Bill



A U.S. House of Representatives panel has approved a bill that seeks to deny visas to more than 60 Russian officials implicated in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The draft legislation also aims to freeze the officials’ U.S. assets.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved on a voice vote the "Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act" despite opposition by the Obama administration and Russian warnings that the legislation could threaten bilateral relations.

Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 after implicating top officials in a scheme to defraud the Russian government.

He died after nearly a year in pretrial detention where he was reportedly tortured.

Many in the U.S. Congress favor the bill as a trade-off for lifting trade restrictions on Russia.

The legislation still faces a battle before it can become law, however, as the Senate has delayed considering its version of the bill.

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

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