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Russian Foreign Ministry supports blacklists for “enemies of Russia”

01.07.2011    source:
The move is in response to attempts within Europe and the US Congress to impose sanctions aimed at Russian officials implicated in the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky


Russia’s Foreign Ministry has supported the proposal made by State Duma Deputies to create their own blacklists of western politicians who can be barred from entering Russia.  This is in response to attempts within Europe and the US Congress to impose sanctions aimed at Russian officials implicated in the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that the “Foreign Ministry regards this move as absolutely fair”.

Several days earlier members of all factions of the State Duma tabled amendments making it possible to take measures of an administrative and economic nature against people implicated in violating the rights of Russian nationals abroad. 

According to the draft law a foreign national given powers by his country and causing property losses and moral harm to a Russian national while abroad could be banned entry to Russia.

The draft law also gives the government the right to freeze financial assets in Russia and foreign branches of Russian banks held by people whose presence in Russia has been decided is undesirable. It would also have the right to place an embargo on any deals with property and investments.  Such decisions would be final and require immediate enforcement.

Eigh­teen months after Sergei Magnitsky’s death from tor­ture in cus­tody, the State Duma has not inves­ti­gated his false arrest, or his tor­ture in pre-trial deten­tion. Russ­ian law­mak­ers have like­wise refused to fol­low the evi­dence Mag­nit­sky sub­mit­ted, which impli­cates gov­ern­ment offi­cials in the theft of $500 mil­lion from the Russ­ian trea­sury. In fact the offi­cials Sergei Mag­nit­sky exposed have been pro­moted, hon­ored and for­mally re-certified to remain in their posi­tions of power.

On 16 Decem­ber  2010, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment adopted a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for visa and eco­nomic sanc­tions on the Russ­ian offi­cials impli­cated in the Mag­nit­sky case. This spring, two sim­i­lar pieces of leg­is­la­tion were intro­duced in both cham­bers of the United States Con­gress, titled “The Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2011” and “The Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky Act of 2011.” Both acts would impose visa and eco­nomic sanc­tions on Russ­ian offi­cials involved in the crimes against Sergei Mag­nit­sky, and the sub­se­quent cover-up that has shielded Russ­ian offi­cials from prosecution.

In April 2011, Mr. Magnitsky’s for­mer col­league, Amer­i­can attor­ney Jami­son Fire­stone, filed a 23-page peti­tion addressed to the heads of all four lead­ing fac­tions of the Russ­ian par­lia­ment, seek­ing a par­lia­men­tary inves­ti­ga­tion into the Mag­nit­sky case and the role of Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Chaika in its cover-up. He has received no response and no inves­ti­ga­tion has been launched

On 7 June the Russ­ian Del­e­ga­tion to the Coun­cil of Europe staged a protest in advance of a sched­uled sem­i­nar of the Coun­cil of Europe’s Human Rights and Legal Affairs Com­mit­tee at the Nor­we­gian Par­lia­ment, issu­ing a state­ment that the del­e­ga­tion planned to boy­cott the tes­ti­mony of William Brow­der,  CEO of Her­mitage Capital.

Speak­ing to the assem­bly, Mr. Brow­der stated:

“The Russ­ian law­mak­ers may have ignored the fact that an inno­cent lawyer had been tor­tured and killed in pre-trial deten­tion, or the fact that half a bil­lion dol­lars had been stolen from the Russ­ian trea­sury, but as soon as it was under­stood that gov­ern­ment offi­cials might be barred from vaca­tion­ing at their Euro­pean vil­las or access­ing their EU bank accounts, Russ­ian law­mak­ers are hold­ing protests in an attempt to block this leg­is­la­tion.”

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