MEPs slam Kremlin for human rights abuses ahead of Putin visit


A few days ahead of the Russian government’s scheduled visit to Brussels to meet with the EU executive, members of the European Parliament have expressed its strong concern about what they consider the malfunctioning of the Kremlin’s systems of governance and justice. The Liberals even spoke in favour of imposing restrictive measures.

In its draft motion for a resolution on the rule of law in Russia, the ALDE group called on the member states to consider imposing “an EU entry ban” on some sixty Russian officials involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. This Russian lawyer died in prison after he was held in prison for a year without charge. The Liberals also “encouraged” the EU’s law enforcement agencies to “cooperate” in freezing these officials’ bank accounts and other assets.

Speaking on behalf of the ALDE group, on 15 February in Strasbourg, Kristiina Ojuland (Estonia) argued that the EU should react equally strongly to human rights violations in Russia as it does in other countries. The EU has recently imposed a visa ban and an asset freeze on a hundred-odd Belarusian officials involved in the brutal harassment of civil society activists and ordinary people who protested against vote rigging during last December’s presidential elections. The Union has also decided to freeze the assets of former President of Tunisia Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, on the ground of embezzlement of public funds.

The debate on the state of the rule of law in Russia took place without the participation of High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton. She was on a scheduled visit to Tunisia and the Middle East. MEP Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Germany) regretted that such an important aspect of EU-Russia relations as the rule of law was debated without presence of the EU’s foreign affairs chief.

MEPs from all the other groups joined the Liberals in voicing strong criticism of the state of the rule of law in Russia, calling on the Kremlin to embark on real reforms of its system of governance and justice. They strongly condemned, in particular, the handling of the criminal trial against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, and the case of Magnitsky. There was also a general agreement that the Russian authorities have to radically uphold human rights in the country, particularly in the Northern Caucasus. A vote on the joint motion for a resolution is planned for17 February.

The debate was held ahead of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to the European Commission, on 24 February. This so-called ‘executive to executive’ meeting is part of the Union’s new approach to its strategic partners. According to EU sources, Putin is expected to meet European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. He will be accompanied by several ministers, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Borisovich Khristenko. They will meet their European counterparts at the so-called ‘cluster’ working sessions. According to EU sources, the main points on the agenda will be cooperation on energy, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and human rights. займ на карту займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно female wrestling https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-cash-advances.php https://zp-pdl.com/emergency-payday-loans.php payday loan

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