March 30, 2015

Cardin, Wicker Bolster ‘Magnitsky Act’ Sanctions

Final Budget Deal Includes Bipartisan Provision to Expand Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, D-Md. and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., were successful in adding a joint amendment to the recently passed Budget Resolution that would expand the “Magnitsky Act’s” sanctions on the financial activities and travel of individuals who violate human rights.

 

The “Magnitsky Act,” which became law in 2012, placed congressional sanctions on Russian officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an outspoken critic of the Vladimir Putin regime.

 

“Standing up for the rule of law and establishing clear consequences for abuses of fundamental human rights and corruption serves America’s interests and contributes to global security,” said Senator Cardin. “This amendment puts Russia’s corrupt officials and human rights violators on notice that the United States will continue to hold those who commit these violations accountable, even when their own country fails to act.”

 

“The passage of the ‘Magnitsky Act’ signaled to Russia that rampant corruption and a complete disregard for rule of law will not be tolerated by U.S. leaders,” Senator Wicker said. “The recent murder of Russian political leader Boris Nemtsov is a reminder that the fight for human rights and justice is far from over. Strengthening this law would provide additional tools to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”

 

The Wicker-Cardin amendment would expedite interagency cooperation to identify additional foreign nationals subject to sanctions. It would also impose sanctions on foreign persons responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or significant acts of corruption.

 

Magnitsky was a Russian tax attorney who uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history. After testifying against government officials, he was arrested and held without a trial for a year. While in custody, Magnitsky was tortured and died. To date, no senior government official has been held responsible for his death.

 

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