The Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio and his colleague, Democrat from Maryland, Ben Cardin called on Secretary of state Michael Pompeo and Minister of Finance Steven Mnuchin to impose new sanctions against Russian officials responsible for human rights violations and responsible for the persecution of the opposition in Russia.
As stated in the letter, Rubio and Cardin, signed by nine senators, the United States must “take measures in response to the ongoing persecution by the Russian government dissidents and opposition leaders, including detention for political reasons of many citizens”.
“We urge to use the act “the rule of law and accountability name of Sergei Magnitsky” and “Global Magnitsky act” and to impose targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for these human rights violations”, – said in a letter to senators posted on 1 Oct.
“While against those sanctions were imposed in respect of many others, including the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, justice Minister Alexander Konovalov,…, no,” – said in the text of the document.
Commenting on this initiative of senators, the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the XVI annual meeting of the international discussion club “Valdai”, said Rubio and Cardin – known anti-Russian policy. “All those who have a little bit politically Mature view of the situation, had to understand that sanctions do not work in the direction in which they want. I think that will not earn never” – quoted TASS words of the head of the foreign Ministry. “We have God and the ancestors of this land with its wealth. Is self-esteem. Well, the army. All this combined gives us a very strong confidence”, – said Lavrov
Recall that in early September, the U.S. Congress has already called on the President of the United States Donald trump to impose sanctions against Russia in connection with the repression against protesters in Moscow.
The Chairman and senior Republican of the Committee on foreign Affairs of the house of representatives Eliot Engel (from NY) and Michael mccaul (Texas) stated that the restrictive measures against the government of the Russian Federation must be introduced as a punishment for “violations of human rights” committed during the dispersal of unauthorized officials of the protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“Tens of thousands of Russians held a peaceful demonstration on the streets of Moscow to Express their support for free and fair elections and democratic reforms. Many of these people were intimidated, beaten, arrested or imprisoned,” stated the lawmakers. They noted that the Russian authorities are contrary to the commitments undertaken in the framework of participation in the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe.
“We call on President trump and his administration to use their powers in accordance with the “Magnitsky act” and to impose targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for these gross violations of human rights in Russia. We intend to work closely with authorities to prosecute the perpetrators,” stressed Engel and McCall.
The act of “the rule of law and accountability name of Sergei Magnitsky” was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012. It provides for the application of unilateral sanctions against Russian officials guilty, from the perspective of Washington, in violation of human rights at home.
The document envisages the application of sanctions against several Russian officials including law enforcement officers involved in the death in November 2009 in a Moscow pretrial detention centre “sailor’s silence” the lawyer of Fund Hermitage Capital of Sergei Magnitsky.
In December 2016 us lawmakers passed a bill allowing for the possibility of extending the scope of the Magnitsky act to other countries, not just Russia.
In 2007, Russian prosecutors suspected the subsidiaries of Hermitage Capital in evasion from payment of taxes. After searches in the company of the lawyer of Fund Sergey Magnitsky accused officials of MIA and Prosecutor’s office to use the received materials for embezzlement of the state more than $ 230 million, disguised as a VAT refund.
In response, prosecutors accused Magnitsky of tax evasion. He was arrested and died in SIZO “Matrosskaya Tishina” in November 2009 at the age of 37 years. Before his death, Magnitsky was deprived of medical care and, in fact, tortured. His death caused a huge public resonance in Russia and abroad, and also became the reason for adopting the so-called Magnitsky act in different countries, involving sanctions for corrupt officials and those engaged in human rights violations. Such laws appeared not only in USA but also in Canada, Britain and other EU countries.
After the release of “the Panama document” in 2016, the Centre for the investigation of corruption and organized crime published evidence that stolen money from the budget mentioned by Magnitsky, settled in the accounts of long-time friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin cellist Sergei Roldugin – called “purse” of Putin.
Meanwhile, in the attitude of the founder of the British investment Fund Hermitage Capital of William Browder in Russia excite all new criminal cases, although it has twice in absentia condemned. On 11 July 2013, the Tver court of Moscow found him guilty of tax evasion in especially large amounts (522 million) and sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of tax evasion amounting to more than 522 million rubles through falsifying tax returns and illegal use of benefits intended for the disabled.
In July 2014, Russia announced Browder on the international wanted list. The Prosecutor General’s office has repeatedly sent to Interpol request for the arrest of the founder of Hermitage Capital.
At the end of 2017, the Tver court of Moscow again sentenced Browder to nine years in prison, finding him guilty in deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion of more than 3 billion rubles. To the same date was sentenced Browder partner Ivan Cherkasov.
Russian investigators have accused Browder in several murders, including Magnitsky, and in the creation of a criminal community.