U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Votes Unanimously in Favor of Magnitsky Bill

June 7, 2012

In a historic vote today, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, unanimously approved the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” which will impose visa bans and asset freezes on the Russian officials involved in the torture and murder of 37-year old, anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky as well as on other gross human rights abuses in Russia.

The vote at the Committee went forward unopposed in spite of the vigorous opposition from the Russian government, the delaying tactics from the Obama administration and last-minute lobbying from major US businesses like Boeing, Caterpillar, and PepsiCo.

The ‘Magnitsky Act’ now moves to the floor of the House of Representatives to be voted on at a later date.

Speaking about today’s vote, William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and one of the advocates of the effectiveness of the Magnitsky sanctions, said:

“Today’s vote in the U.S. will create a solid precedent that will be followed by Europe, Canada and other countries concerned with the deterioration of human rights in Russia and where parliamentary initiatives are under way.”

Currently, there are 12 national parliaments including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands, who are considering Magnitsky sanctions.

Mr Browder also said:

“The legislation will protect the Russian opposition because members of the Russian regime keep their money in the West. If they start opening fire on opposition members, that money will be frozen”.

“This is the first of many things to create the enduring legacy that the life and death of Sergei Magnitsky deserves. In the end, when the regime changes in Russia, they will erect monuments to Sergei for his bravery and sacrifice for his country.”

Following today’s vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the next step in the legislative process is for the Magnitsky bill to be voted on by the members of the House of Representatives, before being voted on by the Senate and finally, to be signed into law by the U.S. President.

Link to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing notice about the mark up of H.R. 4405:

“To impose sanctions on persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky, and for other gross violations of human rights in Russian Federation, and for other purposes”.


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