European Parliament Members Call on the European Commission to Unblock Magnitsky Sanctions

December 13, 2016


For Immediate distribution



European Parliament Members Call on the European Commission to Unblock Magnitsky Sanctions



13 December 2016 – Members of the European Parliament from five major political parties have called on the European Commission to unblock the EU’s Magnitsky sanctions and put them to vote by the Council of Ministers.


“We implore you to enact the will of democratically elected Members of the European Parliament and present a proposal to the Council of Ministers to sanction the individuals listed in the Recommendation to the Council of 2 April, 2014 …in the case of Sergei Magnitsky,” said 51 MEPs in a letter addressed to Federica Mogherini, the European Commission’s VP and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.


Two years ago, the European Parliament passed a Recommendation listing 32 Russians to be excluded from the EU because of their role in the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian lawyer who was arrested, tortured and killed in a Russian detention center after testifying about the role of Russian government officials in a US$230 million fraud.  Federica Mogherini, who as High Representative chairs Foreign Affairs Council meetings, has blocked the implementation of the resolution by refusing to put it to vote of the EU’s Council of Ministers.


This week Gunnar Hökmark (European People’s Party), Anna Fotyga (European Conservatives and Reformists), Petras Auštrevičius, (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), Ana Gomes (Social and Democrats), and Rebecca Harms (Green Party) have led a 51-signatory initiative to unblock the Magnitsky Sanctions Resolution.


European People’s Party MEP Gunnar Hökmark said: “The first time the parliament raised this question, Mrs Mogherini answered that it was in our best interest to wait and hope for the development of good forces in Russia. However, the contrary has been proved over the last couple of years with the murder of Boris Nemtsov and the regimes all-growing repression and isolation.”


MEP Anna Fotyga (European Conservatives and Reformists) said: “The murders of Sergei Magnitsky, Boris Nemtsov and others, as well as aggressions on Georgia and Ukraine force us to name the Russian political system as an aggressive SovietStyle kleptocracy.  Such regime cannot be a partner for Western Democracies.”


Social and Democrats MEP Ana Gomes said: “Considering the deterioration of human rights in Russia, it is about time that the High Representative and the EU Council of Ministers act.


Green Party MEP Rebecca Harms said: “Magnitsky sanctions are an instrument showing our will to protect whistleblowers, human rights activists or dissidents. These sanctions would allow us to react against those who are personally responsible for violation of human rights and crimes against humanity,”


MEP Petras Auštrevičius (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) said: “Sergei Magnitsky`s fight against fraudulent and corrupt system in Russia is a sad reminder of the dire human rights situation in Russia. This amendment is a significant warning to human rights violators that they can no longer get away with their old methods.”


Assassinated Russian politician and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov was a strong advocate for an EU Magnitsky Law. In an interview published in “Why Europe needs Magnitsky Law,” Boris Nemtsov said:


“Putin’s Russia makes heroes out of murderers and corrupt officials. Naturally, the countries of Europe should hardly want murderers and corrupt officials traveling about unhindered in the European Union… So, if you, and by “you” I mean Europeans, want to protect yourself against Putin’s thieves, murderers and corrupt officials, you have to adopt the Magnitsky Law.”


Boris Nemtsov also warned that the Putin’s regime would spend significant resources to block the EU Magnitsky law: “Putin knows full well the weaknesses of European politicians; he knows full well that many of them can be bought, and he makes extensive use of that… tremendous force is being exerted to defeat the adoption of the Magnitsky Law in Europe.


Last week, the US Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, imposing sanctions on human rights violators and corrupt officials from around the world. The Estonian parliament also unanimously passed Magnitsky legislation, which was signed into law by the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.


William Browder, leader of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, said: “It is time for the European Union to do its part by enacting the will of its members to stop criminals with blood on their hands from reaping the benefits of Europe.”


Magnitsky legislation originated with the passage by the US Congress in December 2012 of the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” which imposes visa sanctions and asset freezes on those involved in Magnitsky case and other human rights abuses in Russia.


Signatories to the December 2016 letter to Federica Mogherini:



Gunnar Hökmark, EPP

Lars Adaktusson, EPP

Tunne Kelam, EPP

Inese Vaidere, EPP

Ludek Niedermayer, EPP

Milan Zver, EPP

Romana Tomc, EPP

Ivan Stefanec, EPP

Sandra Kaliete, EPP

Siegfried Muresan, EPP

Laima Andrikiene, EPP

Michael Gahler, EPP

Herbert Reul, EPP

Dariusz Rosati, EPP

Bent Bendtsen, EPP

Robert Velikonja, EPP

Jerzy Buzek, EPP

Christofer Fjellner, EPP

Krišjānis Kariņš, EPP

Brian Hayes, EPP

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, EPP

Anna Fotyga, ECR

Andrew Lewer, ECR

Anders Vistisen, ECR

Mark Demesmaeker, ECR

Monica Macovei, ECR

Hans-Olaf Henkel, ECR

Roberts Zile, ECR

Joachim Starbatty, ECR

Bernd Kolmel, ECR

Geoffrey Van Orden, ECR

Jan Zahradil, ECR

Charles Tannock, ECR

Fox Ashley, ECR

Tomasz Piotr Poręba, ECR

Ryszard Czarnecki, ECR

Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, ECR

Jadwiga Wiśniewska, ECR

Edward Czesak, ECR

Petras Auštrevičius, ALDE

Pavel Telička, ALDE

Jasenko Selimovic, ALDE

Nathalie Griesbeck, ALDE

Eva Joly, Greens

Helga Trüpel, Greens

Maria Heubuch, Greens

Rebecca Harms, Greens

Indrek Tarand, Greens

Keith Taylor, Greens

Bronis Rope, Greens

Ana Gomes, S&D


For more information, please contact:


Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777





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