WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement after the Obama Administration submitted to Congress its third annual report of U.S. Government actions to implement the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, adding additional individuals for sanctions.
“As the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the author of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability law, I welcome the Administration’s decision to sanction five individuals under the legislation. Four were complicit in the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky, while one individual was sanctioned for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
“While I am pleased that these individuals are now subject to the law’s asset freezes and visa bans, there remain others who were complicit in Sergei Magnitsky’s death that have not yet been sanctioned, and the list of human rights abusers in Russia unfortunately continues to grow. The Russian Federation under President Putin is increasingly a country where democratically oriented political figures and human rights defenders are targeted. I urge the State Department to fully investigate these cases for consideration under the Magnitsky law without delay. Human rights abusers around the world must understand that the United States will be aggressive in its efforts to hold accountable those who violate human rights and subvert the rule of law.
“The value of this critical tool should not be only limited to addressing human rights in the Russian Federation. The House of Representatives should without delay adopt the Global Magnitsky Act, which has already passed in the Senate. This expanded bill would provide the administration with powerful tools to deter gross rights violations and significant corruption across the globe, while also protecting America’s financial system from those who would use it to launder or shelter ill-gotten gains.
“I want to take this opportunity to also honor Sergei Magnitsky, who was imprisoned and tortured in a Russian prison for standing up for the rule of law when he exposed the largest known tax fraud in Russian history. In acknowledging Sergei’s life and passing we recommit ourselves to supporting human rights and the rule of law in Russia despite a closing space for independent voices and civil society in the country and around the world.”