WASHINGTON, January 16 (RIA Novosti) – Two senior US senators introduced legislation Thursday that would extend the Magnitsky Act sanctions punishing alleged Russian rights abusers to individuals around the world that Washington deems complicit in human rights violations.
“Gross violators of human rights from Zimbabwe to Ukraine, and Honduras to Papua New Guinea, are put on notice that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act,” US Senator Benjamin Cardin, who introduced the bill with Senator John McCain, said in a statement.
Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, was a co-author of the Magnitsky Act, a US law introducing sanctions on Russians that Washington has implicated in the 2009 death of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as other Russians accused of rights abuses.
Like the Magnitsky Act, which Russia calls unacceptable meddling in its domestic affairs, the bill would punish targeted individuals anywhere in the world with visa and financial sanctions and publicly name them while also allowing for a classified list.
“Standing up for the rule of law and establishing clear consequences for abuses of fundamental human rights serves our nation’s interests and reflects of deepest values,” McCain, an Arizona Republican fiercely critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in the statement.
As with the Magnitsky legislation, the bill would require the White House to submit to federal lawmakers a list of designated individuals that it determines to be responsible for “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” against whistleblowers and rights advocates.
In April, Washington released the names of 18 officials targeted by the Magnitsky Act sanctions and said a handful of other Russians had been placed on a classified sanctions list in the interests of US national security.
This list incensed Russia, which issued its own blacklist of 18 US officials described by Moscow as having been connected with the US’s infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba or as having violated the rights of Russians abroad.