German Justice Ministry Rejects Russian Interpol Request for William Browder
May 23, 2013
The German Justice Ministry has rejected the Russian request sent via Interpol in relation to William Browder, and assured him of an intimidation-free attendance at the human rights forum planned in Berlin, Germany, for this coming Monday, 27th May 2013 (www.bhrc.de).
“The decision by the German Justice Ministry is a strong act in support of human rights and against political abuse. It shows that Germany, along with its Western allies, will not be intimidated by the corrupt misuse of international justice mechanisms by the Putin regime for political purposes,” said William Browder.
The German Justice Ministry has confirmed today to Mr Browder that “it did not grant the Russian request and that it will not grant in future this request or similar Interpol red notices, Interpol blue notices or diffusions of the Russian Federation.”
The decision of the German Justice Ministry came in response to the earlier request from the Russian Interior Ministry, sent via Interpol to all 190 member states, to “locate” Mr Browder in order to ultimately detain him on a Russian arrest warrant. Yesterday, the organisers of the ‘Time for European Magnitsky Law’ event in Berlin, where Mr Browder was invited to speak, were informed that it would not be possible to guarantee the course of action of German authorities in light of the Russian request.
However, today, on instructions from the German Justice Minister, Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the German Justice Ministry has issued the decision to refuse the Russian request for assistance in relation to Mr Browder, and indicated that German authorities will not cooperate with the Russian Federation in their acts of political persecution of Mr Browder.
The Russian authorities have been angered by the success of Mr Browder’s worldwide campaign for sanctions on Russian officials responsible for the $230 million corruption and the torture and killing in police custody of his whistle-blowing Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. In December 2012, the US Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, imposing visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials in the Magnitsky case, as advocated by Mr Browder. In direct retaliation, the Russian government launched a spurious criminal case against Mr Browder, falsely accusing him of “theft” of Gazprom shares and “interference” in Gazprom policies more than ten years ago, and alleging “harm to Russian national economic interests.” The Russian authorities have also sought to involve Interpol in their political attack on Mr Browder in order to hamper his ability to campaign for the imposition of Magnitsky sanctions in Europe.