Sen. Shaheen Calls for Justice for Human Rights Abuses in Russia

Freedom House commends Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Ben Cardin, Roger Wicker, and 28 additional Senate cosponsors for their leadership in seeking respect for human rights in Russia by calling for the passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. As Senator Shaheen said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, February 14: “We stand here today to press for accountability in Mr. Magnitsky’s death; however, I want to reiterate that this is more than simply a question of one man’s tragic case … Today, as we call for justice for human rights abuses in Russia, we also stand with those brave Russian citizens who risk much in calling for their rights to be respected.  As we have seen throughout this last year of upheaval around the globe, the rising voice of a public driven to peaceful protest can be deafening.  Prime Minister Putin and his regime would be wise to listen to the people of Russia.”

Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old lawyer, died in pretrial detention in 2009 after exposing a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme orchestrated by state officials against Russian taxpayers. The Rule of Law Accountability Act that bears his name states that, while detained, he was tortured and denied legal rights by the same state officers he had accused of embezzlement and corruption.  The act was introduced in May 2011 and seeks to “impose sanctions on persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky, for the conspiracy to defraud the Russian Federation of taxes on corporate profits through fraudulent transactions and lawsuits against Hermitage, and for other gross violations of human rights in the Russian Federation.”

Learn More:

Testimony by David J. Kramer: The State of Human Rights and Rule of Law in Russia

Freedom in the World 2011: Russia

Freedom of the Press 2011: Russia

Freedom on the Net 2011: Russia

Video: Sen. Wicker: Putin’s Russia back under ‘iron curtain’ [The Hill]

Text: Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act [PDF]