Italy May Ban Entry to Magnitsky List Officials

A group of Italian deputies is proposing banning access to Italy for  Russian officials allegedly linked to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pre-trial detention center.

According to the Italian parliamentary agenda, the discussion is scheduled for Wednesday.

Magnitsky was an anti-corruption lawyer who worked with the Hermitage Capital investment fund, and who died in Moscow’s infamous Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in November 2009, a year after he was arrested on tax evasion charges. Shortly before his arrest, he claimed to have uncovered a massive fraud in which Moscow tax and police officials had allegedly embezzled $230 million worth of budget funds.

A probe into his death revealed that the 37-year-old lawyer, who was suffering from untreated pancreatitis and a heart condition, did not receive proper medical treatment. Rights activists have pointed to multiple violations of the lawyer’s rights during his arrest and detention, including signs that he was beaten by prison guards hours before his death.

A group of influential U.S. senators, including former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, proposed the introduction of a blacklist of Russian officials allegedly linked to the Magnitsky’s death in mid-March.

Italian deputies are also calling for determination of whether people on the list own assets in Italy, and, if there are, to take appropriate economic sanctions.

The U.S. State Department issued visa bans for several dozen Russian officials in connection to the Magnitsky case in July 2011. In response, Russia has also imposed travel bans on several U.S. officials.


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