Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to a Russian court finding deceased whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion. Senator Cardin is the author of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act that was signed into law in conjunction with Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia.
“Russia continues to do damage to itself with the shameful, posthumous conviction of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. Sadly, we have come to expect this sort of behavior from the Putin regime. Such a verdict does no further harm to Sergei, though it must be torturous for his family and friends. What this does is continue the downward spiral of Russia’s reputation as a law-abiding state and member of the international community. Those who are currently abusing the rights of the Russian people will one day pass into history and Sergei will be honored as a decent man, trying to do the right thing, who gave his life for a more just and free Russia. My hope for the Russian people is that such a day will come soon.”
Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old Russian lawyer who uncovered massive fraud and corruption in Russia and then was arrested for his whistleblowing. He died in 2009 after suffering torturous conditions in pre-trial detention, being repeatedly denied medical treatment. Those who committed the corruption uncovered by Magnitsky and those responsible for his death have not been brought to justice. In some cases, they have been promoted since Magnitsky’s death. Magnitsky currently is being tried posthumously. Since 2010, at the encouragement of Senator Cardin and his colleagues, the State Department has barred dozens of Russians implicated in Magnitsky’s death from receiving travel visas.