MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russia on Thursday warned the EU about an unspecified response to the possible introduction of a “Magnitsky List.”
“If that kind of list is adopted, commensurate steps will be taken [by Russia],” Russian Ambassador at Large Anvar Azimov said.
“We wouldn’t like that to affect our [visa facilitation] dialog.”
The Magnitsky List issue is being politicized, he said, referring to a Russian lawyer who died in pretrial detention in 2009 while investigating alleged official corruption.
In the United States, the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act with amendments seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the torture and death of a 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.
Magnitsky was arrested on tax evasion charges in November 2008, just days after accusing police investigators in a $230-million tax refund fraud, and died after almost a year in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow.
A probe into his death revealed that the lawyer, who was suffering from untreated pancreatitis and a heart condition, did not receive proper medical treatment. Rights activists 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.
The U.S. State Department imposed visa bans on several dozen Russian officials in connection to the Magnitsky case in July 2011. In response, Russia has imposed travel bans on several U.S. officials.