Members of European Parliament Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Sanctions in Magnitsky Case

December 16, 2010

Today the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for sanctions against the Russian officials responsible for the false arrest, torture and death of 37-year old Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. This is a crucial step in the fight to obtain justice for Mr. Magnitsky.

With an overwhelming majority of 318 in favour and 163 against (with 95 abstentions), the European Parliament called upon EU member states to consider imposing entry bans on the Russian officials who played a direct role in the Magnitsky case. The European Parliament also called on EU law enforcement agencies to cooperate in freezing bank accounts and other assets of these Russian officials in all EU Member States.

Heidi Hautala, Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights said:

With this vote the European Parliament is calling for justice for an innocent man who died in prison. This death was one too many. There comes a point when silence is no longer an option. While there was an attempt by the Russian officials to portray this proposal as anti-Russian, we have been moved by the vast support we have received from inside Russia.”

One year after Magnitsky’s death, Russian authorities have failed to open an investigation into his torture. No one has been charged in relation to his death. The investigation of the theft of $230 million by police officials Magnitsky testified against was entrusted to the officials directly implicated in his death. Furthermore many of those same officials were promoted and given top state honors on the one-year anniversary of Magnitsky’s death.

Marietje Schaake, an MEP from the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe said:

Human rights violations cannot be met with impunity. For EU-Russia relations to develop constructively, the rule of law must be upheld and the state has to investigate crimes and prosecute those who are responsible.”

William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management said:

“We applaud the MEPs who supported this landmark decision in the fight for justice in Russia. These sanctions are not against Russia and the Russian people, but specifically against those Russian officials who played a part in the false arrest, torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky. This vote will give hope to millions of Russians who are tired of the impunity shown by corrupt officials.

This vote is a critical step in an international process to bring to justice  those who played a role in cruelly taking the life of Sergei Magnitsky.  The next step will be to actively implement this important resolution across EU member states.

Sergei Magnitksy (8 April 1972 – 16 November 2009), an outside lawyer for the Hermitage Fund,  blew the whistle on widespread Russian government corruption, involving officials from Russian law enforcement and security services. The officials he testified against, arrested and detained him, beginning a nightmare in which he was thrown into custody without bail or trial, and systematically tortured for one year in an attempt to force him to retract his testimony. Despite the physical and psychological pain Sergei Magnitsky endured from his captors, he refused to perjure himself, even as his health deteriorated. Denied medical care for the last four months of his detention, he died in excruciating circumstances at the age of 37, having developed a severe pancreatic condition while being held in the Butyrka remand center — a notorious Czarist-era jail that also that also held Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Raoul Wallenberg.

On the first anniversary of his death in November 2009, Magnitsky was posthumously awarded the 2010 Integrity Award by Transparency International in recognition for his courageous fight and ultimate sacrifice against Russian corruption.

Watch a documentary about the life and death of Sergei Magnitsky in Russian custody:

Read full text of the European Parliament’s call for justice in Sergei Magnitsky case, 16 December 2010:

“[The European Parliament] Urges the Russian judicial authorities to press ahead with the investigation of the death on 16 November 2009 of Russian lawyer Sergey Magnitsky;

deplores that this case is still an outstanding example of the serious shortcomings within the country’s judicial system;

regrets the situation that, while human rights defenders are often subject to a harsh treatment and trials that ignore the Russian Federation’s Code of Criminal Procedure (such as its Article 72 in the case against Oleg Orlov of Memorial for slander), those guilty of aggressions against and even murder of human rights defenders, independent journalists and lawyers still too often enjoy impunity;

calls on the Council, in the absence of positive moves from the Russian authorities to cooperate and investigate the case of Sergey Magnitsky, to insist that  the Russian authorities bring those responsible to justice and to consider imposing an EU entry ban for Russian officials involved in this case, and encourages EU law enforcement agencies to cooperate in freezing bank accounts and other assets of these Russian officials in all EU Member States.”


No Comments Yet.

Got something to say?

  • Link

Hermitage TV

Visit “Stop the Untouchables” site

For more information please visit site..