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.

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