Posts Tagged ‘ottaway’

March 2013

Sergei Magnitsky’s widow wants abusers banned from entering Britain

Daily Telegraph

The widow of whistle-blowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has called on the British Government to adopt a US-style law to publicly ban his abusers from entering the UK.

Speaking as a Moscow court on Friday begins a “Kafkaesque” trial of her dead husband, Natalya Zharikova, 40, in her first ever media interview, urged Britain to adopt a similar law to the Magnitsky Act approved by the United States in December.

The Act, which introduced US visa bans and asset freezes for Russian officials allegedly involved in Mr Magnitsky’s death in a Moscow jail in 2009, prompted fury from the Kremlin, which approved a controversial ban on American parents adopting Russian children as a “symmetrical response”.

“I would like the UK Government to introduce a similar law to the US Magnitsky Act,” Ms Zharikova told The Daily Telegraph. “Many people in the UK clearly understand the matter and sympathise with us. If it’s not possible to get justice in Russia then it should be found elsewhere.”

Mr Magnitsky died in agony in a pre-trial detention centre aged 37 after being beaten and denied essential medical treatment for pancreatitis. He had been jailed a year earlier by senior Russian police officers whom he accused of organising a £140m fraud in league with tax officials.

No one has been convicted over his death, which provoked outrage worldwide and has become a symbol of corruption and ruthlessness under President Vladimir Putin.

britain and Russia embarked on a mini-thaw last week, when William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, welcomed their Russian counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, to London for a rare bilateral meeting. Relations remain fraught however over the poisoning of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in Britain in 2006. Any move to ban Russian officials from entering the UK is likely to incense Moscow.

Mr Hague said before his meeting with Mr Lavrov that foreign human rights violators could be anonymously denied visas to Britain, but there is now growing pressure for the Government to “name and shame” Mr Magnitsky’s abusers and publicly block their entry.

Three former Foreign Secretaries – Sir Malcolm Rifkind, David Miliband and Jack Straw – have expressed their support for an explicit entry ban on Mr Magnitsky’s alleged tormentors, who include state officials, judges and police. Other backbench MPs are also lobbying for such a measure.

Moscow’s Tverskoy Court will today [[Friday]] begin a posthumous trial of Magnitsky on fraud charges with an empty defendant’s cage in the room, guarded by bailiffs. The lawyer is accused of the same tax avoidance scam he exposed in what his supporters say is a Kafkaesque attempt to blacken his name beyond the grave.

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