Freedom House Applauds the U.S. Senate’s Passage of the Magnitsky Act | Freedom House

Freedom House Applauds the U.S. Senate’s Passage of the Magnitsky Act

Washington

Freedom House strongly supports the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, passed today by a vote of 92-4, which places a visa ban on corrupt Russian officials and prevents them from accessing U.S. banking systems.  The House version of the bill, which also had strong bipartisan support, was passed on November 16th as part of a trade normalization relations (PNTR) package with Russia and Moldova.

"This is a historic day for the cause of promoting human rights in Russia," said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "Huge credit goes to the House and Senate leaderships for getting this done, to Congressman Jim McGovern and Senator Ben Cardin for their invaluable shepherding of the legislation, to the other Senate and House sponsors of the bill on both sides of the aisle, and to all those have been seeking justice for Sergei Magnitsky and for other cases of gross human rights abuses like his.  Next year, the Congress should apply this model to human rights abusers in other countries where there is impunity for such violations.”

The bill is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian lawyer who died in jail after exposing a multimillion-dollar fraud by Russian officials. Magnitsky’s death on November 16, 2009 was caused by the gross negligence of his jailers and those in the Ministry of Interior responsible for putting him in jail in the first place. "If you are involved in the killing, torture, or unjust imprisonment of lawyers, journalists, activists, critics, or others engaging in free expression, then you should be very worried by this legislation," Kramer added.  "If you don't engage in human rights abuses or massive corruption, then you've got nothing to fear from the Magnitsky Act."

President Obama has indicated that he will sign the PNTR-Magnitsky legislation into law.  Freedom House calls on parliaments in European states to take a critical step in promoting justice for those responsible for gross human rights violations by adopting similar legislation, which the European Parliament has endorsed.

Russia is rated Not Free in the 2012 editions of Freedom House’s Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press surveys and Partly Free in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net 2012 survey.

For more information, visit:

Freedom in the World 2012: Russia

Nations in Transit 2012: Russia

Freedom of the Press 2012: Russia

Freedom on the Net 2012: Russia

Blog: Freedom at Issue

Open Letter: Statement of International Concern on Russia

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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