Posts Tagged ‘neil simon’

December 2012

Cardin stands up for rights

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland’s junior senator shows leadership by demanding Russian accountability for a politically linked death.

This month’s passage of a new U.S.-Russia trade law has done more than showcase Senator Ben Cardin’s dedication to international human rights.

By sending the shock to the Kremlin — that the U.S. values prosecuting rights abusers as much as it values profits for businesses — the Maryland Democrat has catapulted human rights atop the international agenda and brought new attention to the U.S. Helsinki Commission that he chairs.

The Helsinki Commission — founded amid the Cold War, just like the legislation the new trade bill replaces — once helped secure freedom for Soviet refuseniks unable to emigrate from under the thumb of Communism. Thirty years later, Mr. Cardin and the 21-member, bipartisan, congressional-executive body put the spotlight back on the Soviet region broadly and Moscow specifically.

I remember the June day in 2009 when Senator Cardin first heard about Sergei Magnitsky. Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder spoke of the raid on his office in Moscow and how Mr. Magnitsky, his 37-year-old lawyer, refused to lie about the trumped-up charges his client faced in Russia’s largest-ever tax fraud scheme, and how he suffered in prison for it. Mr. Cardin sat wide-eyed, imagining the story worthy of a movie.

What no one knew in the hearing room that day was that Mr. Magnitsky would die within five months, a tragic victim of either repeated medical inaction in prison or torture. (Is there a difference?)

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