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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Co-Chairs McGovern and Wolf Introduce Sanctions Bill Against Those Responsible for the Death of Russian Lawyer

Apr 19, 2012
Press Release

Washington—Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission co-chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) today introduced the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which would impose a visa ban and asset freeze on individuals responsible for the detention, abuse or death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as on individuals responsible for other gross violations of human rights.

Commission co-chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA); commission executive committee members Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ); and commission members Dan Burton (R-IN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Ed Royce (R-CA) are original co-sponsors of the resolution. Other original co-sponsors include House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin (D-MI).

Mr. Magnitsky was wrongly arrested by Russian authorities and tortured to death after exposing the largest tax fraud in Russian history. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act would end the impunity for those responsible for this crime, while also holding accountable individuals responsible for other gross violations of human rights against people seeking to expose illegal activity by Russian officials or to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms.

The bill updates H.R. 1575, which was introduced by McGovern, with Wolf as an original co-sponsor, in 2011. A similar bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate as S. 1039 by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

McGovern said, “Sergei Magnitsky was brutally tortured and allowed to die in detention because he had the courage to stand up to Russian authorities on behalf of the truth. This bill honors his memory by holding accountable not only those individuals responsible for his abuse and death, but also others who have committed gross human rights violations. Enacting the bill would powerfully demonstrate that the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.”

“It is my hope that if this bill becomes law, those that commit these gross violations of human rights would not continue to act with impunity,” said Wolf.

The mission of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is to promote and advocate human rights in a nonpartisan manner both inside and outside of Congress.

112th Congress