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May 2012

The legacy of Sergei Magnitsky

United Explanations

(This is a translation of a blog written in Spanish).

The story of Sergei

It is said that in Russia the authorities can complicate your life (and even put at risk) if you are a human rights defender, oligarch or Chechen. However, Sergei Magnistky was none of these three things and, despite this, the Russian authorities made his life an ordeal.

Sergei Magnitsky died in November 2009 in a Moscow prison for lack of medical care. His body showed further signs of having been tortured. A year earlier, had made a fatal mistake: report tax fraud scheme splashed several government officials.

However, you may Sergei’s suffering not be in vain. His death has created an ambitious bill that aims to prevent people involved in his death to travel to the United States, Canada or the European Union. Here is the story of Sergei and the bill that bears his name.

230 million stolen from the Russian tax authorities …

Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer who worked for 37 years Hermitage Fund Management , a financial company specializing in emerging markets operating in Russia. The president of this company, the American William Browder, had supported Vladimir Putin after coming to power in 2000, but still had publicly denounced cases of corruption involving the government . In 2006, he was denied entry into the country after returning from a trip. He was accused of being a “threat to national security.” Some time later, police entered the company headquarters in Moscow, taking large amounts of documents.

Sergei began an inquiry into what had happened. After months of research, discovered that the company was no longer the name of William Browder but belonged to a convicted murderer . Soon after, Sergei uncovered a huge Russian tax fraud : the new owner of the company, in collusion with senior Russian Interior Ministry had used the name of Hermitage to the Russian state to request reimbursement of $ 230 million that the company had previously paid as taxes.

The arrest and imprisonment of Sergei

Shortly after reporting to the responsible and express their intention to bring to trial, Sergei was arrested and imprisoned on charges of tax evasion . According to Amnesty International, during the 11 months he was imprisoned without trial, Sergei was subjected to degrading treatment and several different human rights violations . In particular, repeatedly denied access to medical care sought for the treatment of pancreatitis and suffering it caused him intense pain. Finally, died after months of agony and with clear signs of having been tortured.

His death triggered a wave of national indignation. As a result, a week after his death, President Dmitri Medvedev promised that it would conduct an inquiry into what happened. However, so far corrupt government officials involved in the death of Sergei have not been brought to justice. By contrast, many of them have been promoted and hold important positions in the administration.

Justice for Sergei: The Movie

“Justice for Sergei” is a documentary that tells the story of Sergei Magnitsky. In this documentary, interview several Magnitsky involved in the case, including several prison officials confirming the responsibility of the Russian authorities in the death of Sergei. So far, he has been viewing in different countries and has toured several film festivals around the world, which has won several awards. The film was screened at the Film Festival and Human Rights in Barcelona and can be viewed online.

International campaign for a law “Magnistsky”

Unable to those responsible for the death of Sergei were tried in their country, are trying to attack them where it hurts: in their pockets. To do this, William Browder began a campaign in the U.S. to get Congress to pass a law that prevents those responsible for the death of Sergei have accounts or spend their money in the U.S., the so-called “Law Magnistsky”.

The Law Magnistsky

Currently, the U.S. Congress is discussing the so-called Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act . This Act seeks to prohibit the issuance of visas and freezing assets of those involved in killing of Sergei and their families, until the Russian Federation has investigated to fund his death and is judged responsible.

Similarly, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in December 2011 to recommend to member countries to impose travel ban throughout the EU, and the freezing of assets of officials in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Also, so far such laws have been discussed in Sweden, Holland, Canada and the United Kingdom.

So far, Russian officials have expressed strong opposition to these laws as collects the Russian news agency Ria Novosti. these bills accused of being “anti-Russian.” However, the explicit support they have shown opposition figures like Garry Kasparov, the news Web The Other Russia and Russian human rights activists show that more than against Russia, the proposal aims to certain very specific strata of Russian society . Thus, as stated in the video Sergei’s Law , the idea that people involved in serious cases of corruption or human rights violations can not maintain accounts or send their children to study in the West, causes severe psychological impact the Russian upper classes.

However, many countries are reluctant to implement such measures, since it could set dangerous precedent and would, at last, after all, deny access to people with money to spend on their economies. Therefore, the site has set up a petition for citizens to lobby their countries and pass laws inspired Magnitsky Act. The proposal is in the air and the importance that the Russian government has demonstrated that its implementation would have a strong impact on the country. Also, give hope to the millions of Russians who watch every day the impunity with which the government acts. buy viagra online buy viagra online payday loan

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