Posts Tagged ‘dylan williams’

December 2012

What Magnitsky Means to Me

Foreign Policy

This week, Congress voted to roll back a host of Cold War-era trade restrictions, granting Russia permanent, normal trade relations with the United States. Integral to that legislative package — which still has to be signed into law by President Obama — is the Magnitsky Act, a bill that would impose sanctions on a list of Russian officials who stand accused of human rights abuses.

The bill is named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian auditor who in 2008 exposed the massive defrauding of a British investment fund by officials in the Russian Interior Ministry, but was later arrested and tortured to death by the same officers that he had testified against. On Capitol Hill, Magnitsky’s death has become a cause célèbre, and the new legislation the bitter pill Moscow must swallow in exchange for the normalization of trade relations.

But for one family — my family — its passage comes just a moment too late.

On Nov. 28, Russian news outlets reported that police in Makhachkala, the capital of the restive northern region of Dagestan, attempted to arrest a man named Shamil Gasanov at his home. They allegedly sought Gasanov on suspicion of involvement in the 2010 murder of Makhachkala police chief Akhmed Magomedov — a crime that was reportedly carried out by Islamists — though the real reason for his arrest remains very much a mystery. According to the initial press accounts, Gasanov, who is by all accounts secular, resisted arrest and fired a gun at the officers, who returned fire, killing him.

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