Churov assumes he is on the Magnitsky list – mistakenly

The Moscow News

The head of Russia’s electoral commission has said he is privileged to be on a US visa blacklist over the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, despite not actually being on the list.

Vladimir Churov told the TV channel Dozhd he was privileged to keep company with dozens of other senior Russian officials banned from entering the US but denied any involvement in the arrest and death of Magnitsky, and the alleged cover up of the massive tax fraud Magnitsky said he had exposed.

Bill Browder, Magnitsky’s old boss at Hermitage Capital, said that Churov was not in fact on the list but condemned Churov’s blasé attitude. “He was not on the list of people who tortured and killed Sergei Magnitsky, but any senior Russian government official who says that he is proud to be associated with those who grossly abused Magnitsky’s human rights immediately calls into question their integrity, their morality and their fitness for public service,” he told The Moscow News.

Putin is always right

Even though Churov is not on the blacklist and so not, presumably, accused of complicity in Magnitsky’s murder, the electoral commission boss felt the need to defend himself. “I hadn’t seen him, known, or heard of his story until after he died,” he told Dozhd, adding he always complied with Russian law in full, “otherwise any voter or political party representative would be able to take me to court.”

Yaroslav Ternovsky, a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, said Churov’s reaction was “correct and proper.”

He said Churov, who had once reportedly said his “first rule is that Putin is always right,” felt no wrongdoing, which “gave him the confidence to say so,” RIA Novosti reported.

“If it is a privilege to be on the list of murderers, there’s nothing left to comment on,” Svetlana Gannushkina of human rights group Civil Assistance told RIA Novosti.

Only at Cardin’s invitation

Churov told Dozhd he planned to be an observer at the US presidential elections next year but given the visa restrictions, he would only go at the “personal invitation” of Senator Benjamin Cardin, who drew up the Magnitsky list that went before Congress in May and has already resulted in the US State Department imposing travel bans on those whose names appear on it.

Churov has been the target of frequent protests by civic right activists, who called for him to shave his beard off following a pledge he made in 2007, that he would do so if elections to parliament were unfair.

Fraud exposé

Magnitsky was arrested and jailed without trial in November 2008, and died in police custody a year later after being denied medical care. The 37-year-old lawyer was working for Hermitage Capital Management, a British-based investment fund, when he accused tax and police officials of a $230 million tax scam.

In a report in July, the Kremlin’s human rights body concluded the father-of-two had suffered deliberate neglect and beatings before dying in his cell.

Emotional reaction

Ternovsky said blacklists are often imposed “on an emotional level” and are an “attempt to sabotage Russia’s independent foreign policy position.”

“Such sanctions are harmful and do not answer the national interests of the United States or Russia,” he said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has promised to respond to the blacklist, but did not give any details.

Magnitsky’s death has highlighted the number of fatalities involving remand prisoners in Russia. Over the past three weeks, there have been at least three prison deaths, one involving a former Yukos oil firm executive and another a Moscow headmaster. займ на карту срочно без отказа займ на карту срочно без отказа https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php микрозайм онлайн

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