US Senate Passes Global Magnitsky Human Rights Bill, Makes Corruption Sanctionable Offence

December 8, 2016


For Immediate distribution


US Senate Passes Global Magnitsky Human Rights Bill, Makes Corruption Sanctionable Offence


8 December 2016 – Today the US Senate passed the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, expanding the Russia-specific Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 worldwide.


William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky Justice campaign, said: “The adoption of the Global Magnitsky Act is a revolution in the fight against corruption and impunity. This legislation will scare human rights abusers and kleptocrats around the world. It is also the beacon of hope for numerous victims of injustice and brazen corruption around the world. Finally, it is a recognition of the power of the sacrifice of one man who stood against the entire evil state machine.”


The Senate vote on Global Magnitsky comes after the passage of the bill in the House of Representatives last week. It now goes to the President for his signature.


The Global Magnitsky Act was sponsored in the Senate by Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.


It was sponsored in the U.S. House by Representative Chris Smith, Co-chairman of the US Helsinki Committee (R-New Jersey), and Representative Jim McGovern, The Co-Chairman of the Lantos Human Rights Committee (D-Massachusetts).


The bi-partisan legislation is named after a Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who testified against corrupt Russian officials implicated in the US$230 million theft, and was arrested by some of the implicated officials, tortured and killed in police custody at the age of 37.


The Global Magnitsky Act widens sanctionable offences to include significant acts of corruption.


The Global Magnitsky Act creates consequences for corrupt officials and human rights abusers in any country around the world by denying them entry into the United States and access to US financial institutions.


Senator McCain said: “Last month marked the seventh anniversary of the murder of Sergei Magnitsky at the hands of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Sergei’s torture and murder is an example of a problem that is unfortunately all too common and widespread in Russia and many parts of the world today: the flagrant violations of the rule of law and basic human rights.”


The Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, which is on its way to becoming law, will … send a clear message that if you violate the human rights and civil liberties of others, the United States will hold you accountable. In passing this legislation, we honor the life and memory of Sergei and affirm our commitment to all those fighting for freedom around the world,” said Senator McCain.


Senator Cardin said: “With today’s passage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the United States has added a critical tool to our diplomatic toolbox, making clear that gross violators of human rights and those who engage in serious acts of corruption cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act…. Perhaps most importantly, passage of this legislation is a reminder to all those around the world who have the courage to stand up against corruption and human rights abuses, that the United States stands with them in solidarity.”


Congressional passage of Global Magnitsky has been part of the Senate’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 fiscal year.


It comes on the eve of two related days: December 9th is International Anti-Corruption Day and December 10th is Human Rights Day.


The Global Magnitsky Act authorizes the President to impose sanctions on any foreign individual the President determines is responsible for significant acts of corruption, extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials.


Global Magnitsky sanctions on these individuals include (a) prohibiting or revoking U.S. entry visas or other entry documentation; (b) freezing and prohibiting U.S. property transactions of an individual if such property and property interests are in the United States, come within the United States, or are in or come within the control of a U.S. person or entity.


In determining whether credible evidence exists to apply sanctions, the President must consider requests made jointly by the Chairperson and Ranking Member of certain Congressional committees.


Global Magnitsky also requires the President to report annually to Congress regarding actions taken pursuant to the bill.


For more information, please contact:


Justice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777




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