U.S. Senate Committee to Vote on Magnitsky List June 19

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on its version the so-called Magnitsky List bill on June 19, according to the hearings schedule published on its website.

The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, with amendments, seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on the Russian officials involved in the alleged torture and murder of 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.

The House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee has already approved its version of the bill and moved it to the House floor to be voted on at a later date.

The U.S. National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) has urged the Congress to oppose the legislation as it would most likely hurt U.S.-Russian trade and badly damage U.S.-Russian ties.

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 hearth 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 issued visa bans for 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.

The Magnitsky case, along with the Jackson-Vanik amendment and the rift over the Syrian crisis, is a major stumbling block in the “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations.


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