MPs mount campaign to ban Russian visas over Sergei Magnitsky death

Daily Telegraph

Backbench MPs will on Wednesday pile pressure on the Government to ban a number of senior Russian officials from entering the UK by demanding action against those allegedly linked to the death of an anti-corruption lawyer working for a British hedge fund in Moscow.

Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher & Walton, has tabled a motion for a backbench debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons, after Prime Minister’s Questions, to vote for legislation to bar visas for 60 Russians connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who worked for Hermitage Capital, and to seize their assets.

The motion has the support of five former foreign ministers, including David Miliband, Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Others backing it include former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell. In total, 26 MPs have signed the motion.

The law would be based on similar arrangements as in the US, which has barred entry to the 60 individuals, including the Russian deputy solicitor general, the deputy interior minister, and the head of the economic espionage unit at the Federal Security Service – the successor to the KGB.

However, any new legislation would almost certainly lead to heightened diplomatic tensions at a time when the British Government is trying rebuild relations following the poisoning in London of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko. Just last month, UK Trade & Investment sponsored an event promoting Russia as an investment destination for British technology companies.

Mr Magnitsky has come to symbolise investors’ fear about Russia’s rule of law since he was jailed by the same police he identified as having helped orchestrate a $230m (£145m) fraud against the state. Held in jail for a year on allegations of tax evasion, he developed pancreatitis, was denied medical attention and was finally tortured to death.

His treatment, and the alleged fraud he uncovered, have contributed to public discontent with the regime of Vladimir Putin, whose re-election for a historic third term as President sparked riots this week. Last month, in a bizarre move, Russian investigators said they might prosecute Mr Magnitsky posthumously for alleged tax fraud.

Mr Raab said: “Parliament has an opportunity to target those in the Russian, Syrian and other rogue regimes who resort to torture or extra-judicial killing to silence the voices of freedom and democracy.
“Those responsible for appalling human rights abuses, as in the case of Sergei Magnitsky, should not be free to waltz down the King’s Road to do their Christmas shopping. By naming and targeting the specific individuals responsible for such crimes, Britain can support the efforts of dissidents and reformers.”

The 60 Russian officials are either alleged to have been involved in the detention and death of Mr Magnitsky, contributed to the cover-up, or committed the original fraud. As in the US, where the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act is with the Senate, Mr Raab’s motion would broaden the legislation out to include all “gross violations of human rights” across the world. онлайн займы быстрые займы онлайн https://www.zp-pdl.com https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php займы онлайн на карту срочно

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