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Thursday
May072015

Canada Senate adopts Magnitsky sanctions resolution

Image courtesy of justiceforsergei.comThe Canadian Senate adopted a motion calling for sanctions against those involved in the torture and death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the cover up of the state crimes he exposed.

Magnitsky died in custody in 2009 after exposing a $230 million tax fraud against the Russian treasury. His evidence implicated a number of government officials and mobsters. The Russian government has said Magnitsky died of natural causes while in jail.

Senator Anita Raynell Andreychuk, sponsor of the Senate motion, said, "Joining with parliaments around the world, the Senate’s adoption of this motion expresses our commitment to accountability for foreign nationals who commit the most serious violations of human rights."

The U.S. adopted the Magnitsky Act in 2012. It imposes visa sanctions and asset freezes on those responsible for the 36-year-old lawyer's detention, abuse, or death, those who concealed his mistreatment, or were involved in or benefited from the criminal conspiracy he uncovered.

Similar action has been taken by the European Parliament, the British House of Commons, the Dutch Parliament, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and others.

Senator Linda Frum said: "Sergei Magnitsky’s courage, which led to his torture and death, should be recognized and applauded everywhere.”

The Magnitsky motion calls upon Canada's government to explore sanctions against any foreign nationals responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights in a foreign country, when authorities in that country are unable or unwilling to conduct a thorough, independent and objective investigation of the violations.

Canada's lower house last month adopted a similar Magnitsky resolution.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.