Canadian Parliament Considers Visa Sanctions in Magnitsky Case

November 9, 2010

Canadian Parliament Slams Corruption in Russia and Considers Visa and Financial Sanctions against Russian Officials in Sergei Magnitsky Case

On the eve of first anniversary of the death in custody of 37 year-old anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the Canadian Parliament has held hearings to consider imposing visa and financial sanctions on the Russian officials responsible for his false arrest and torture. The hearings were organized by the Canadian Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights in which members heard testimony from Mr Magnitsky’s client, William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management.

At the hearings, Canadian parliamentarians stated that the Magnitsky case is a shocking example of the corruption and impunity that pervades today’s Russia and highlights the extreme physical danger of doing business in that country. The Hon. Irwin Cotler MP, a former Canadian Justice Minister and counsel to Nelson Mandela and Nathan Sharansky while they were imprisoned, said:

“I am familiar with the compelling and tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky and regard William Browder’s testimony as an important looking glass into the culture of corruption and impunity in today’s Russia.”

Mr Browder spoke at the hearings in the Canadian Parliament about the role played by Sergei Magnitsky in exposing the Russian law enforcement officials involved in the embezzlement of US$230 million of public funds. Magnitsky testified against the officers who perpetrated the crime and in response they arrested him and tortured him for one year in pre-trial detention, where he died after being subjected to extraordinary cruel treatment and denied life-saving medical treatment. One year since Magnitsky’s death, no one has been charged or brought to trial for his false arrest and murder in detention in Russia.

Johanne Deschamps MP, Vice Chair for the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, summarized her view of the Magnitsky case:
“This situation is both extremely concerning and stunning, and in fact it is quite shocking that nothing has been done so far as we are nearing the first anniversary of Mr Sergei Magnitsky’s death. It is an outrageous and shocking situation. In Mr Putin’s entourage, people must be starting to be worried.”
Russ Hiebert MP, who holds leadership roles within the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and was Founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Border Caucus which focuses on US-Canada border issues, trade and security, said:

“We can’t expect justice to occur within the Russian justice system…their own justice system won’t held them accountable.”

Mario Silva MP,  Vice Chair for the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, said:
I think it is something that we need to share with all Canadians so that they are aware of what is in fact happening in Russia. I have heard of this case and many other cases and I am frankly mystified as to why people still want to do business in Russia… Given all the frightening things that happened not just with Mr. Magnitsky – I have heard of other similar cases, not to the same extreme extent – it still seems like a frightening place.”

Wayne Marston MP, another Committee Member, stated:

When we listen to the evidence of this particular case and what has happened to this individual, I don’t believe that there is a person around this table who would not be gravely concerned about those kinds of abuses. This case is very troubling, and it is easy to see why it has influenced law makers in various parts of the world. I am sure this committee will give it a thorough look.”

The Canadian parliamentarians discussed imposing visa and financial sanctions on Russian officials. This legislative initiative would follow the precedent set in the United States by legislation entitled “The Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act of 2010” which has been submitted to the US Senate by Senators Benjamin Cardin (D) and John McCain (R) and to the US House of Representatives by Congressmen Jim McGovern (D) and Darrell Issa (R).

Sergei Magnitsky, who provided legal counsel to the Hermitage Fund in Russia, testified about the involvement of Russian law enforcement officers in the theft of his client’s companies and the embezzlement of US$230 million of public funds that those companies had paid in taxes to the Russian government. One month after his testimony, Sergei Magnitsky was arrested by the officers he accused in his testimony and tortured in custody to death. He died on 16 November 2009.

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act of 2010 can be found here:

For more information on the Canadian Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights, click here:


No Comments Yet.

Got something to say?

  • Link

Hermitage TV

Visit “Stop the Untouchables” site

For more information please visit site..