Posts Tagged ‘US’
Magnitsky Sanctions Listings
OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL
Specially Designated Nationals List Update
The Office of Foreign Assets Control has added the following names to the SDN list under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. The newly added SDN list tag of [MAGNIT] corresponds to this new program.
The following individuals have been added to OFAC’s SDN List:
BOGATIROV, Letscha (a.k.a. BOGATYREV, Lecha; a.k.a. BOGATYRYOV, Lecha); DOB 14 Mar 1975; POB Atschkoi, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
DROGANOV, Aleksey O.; DOB 11 Oct 1975; POB Lesnoi Settlement, Pushkin Area, Moscow Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
DUKUZOV, Kazbek; DOB 1974; POB Urus-Martan District, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
KARPOV, Pavel; DOB 27 Aug 1977; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
KHIMINA, Yelena; DOB 11 Sep 1953; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
KOMNOV, Dmitriy; DOB 17 May 1977; POB Kashira Region, Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
KRIVORUCHKO, Aleksey (a.k.a. KRIVORUCHKO, Alex; a.k.a. KRIVORUCHKO, Alexei); DOB 25 Aug 1977; POB Moscow Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT]. (more…)
As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Avis Bohlen
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Warsaw, September 26, 2012
While I hesitate to rank the session topics in any order of importance, it’s hard to overstate how critical the rule of law is to ensuring the effective implementation of other OSCE commitments and to providing redress when necessary. Indeed, how we speak about and understand the state of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the world can never be far removed from the concept and — we hope — the reality of an independent and fair judiciary interpreting and enforcing the laws of a genuinely representative legislature. Sadly, such democratic essentials are still lacking in too many of the participating States, and frequently the courts become tools of government persecution. To be sure, there have been improvements over the past year in some OSCE states, and while we also understand that no state’s judicial system is perfect, in too many cases the chasm between the commitments on paper and the reality on the ground is troubling.
Moderator, in Russia, the posthumous prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky is one of the most visible examples of what former President Dmitry Medvedev decried as “legal nihilism.” We are also concerned by the problematic trials and disproportionate sentences against the female punk group Pussy Riot and the jailing of Taisiya Osipova on questionable drug charges, as well as the legal harassment visited on many of those who have sought to express publicly their disapproval of the government, including Garry Kasparov, Alexey Navalny, and Boris Nemtsov. We reiterate our concerns regarding the second trial, verdict, and sentence of former Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, as well as that of Alexey Kurtsyn.
In Kazakhstan, we are concerned about the fairness of the justice system, where arrests appear to have targeted opposition activists. For example, in the case against Vladimir Kozlov, the prosecution has relied on professed “expert witnesses” who attacked Mr. Kozlov’s character, but failed to produce concrete evidentiary links between Mr. Kozlov’s support for striking oil workers and the violence that occurred in Zhanaozen last December. In the aftermath of violence in Zhanaozen, trials have has been further marred by credible allegations of torture in detention and forced confessions resulting from beatings by prison officials and threats to defendants’ families. These allegations are consistent with and reports of widespread police abuse during the crackdown following the December 16 events. (more…)
Moscow’s ratifying an agreement to ease visa regulations with the United States has nothing to do with the so-called Magnitsky list, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.
Russia has constantly voiced its concerns over a U.S. bill aimed at freezing assets and barring entry to Russian officials implicated in the death of anti-corruption campaigner and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. Moscow also threatened with retaliatory measures in case the bill is approved.
“Russia’s possible reaction to the adoption of the Magnitsky bill must be formed in other dimensions,” Ryabkov said adding that the bilateral visa agreement was ratified on Friday by the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.
Earlier in the year, Kommersant business daily reported that the Russian parliament is delaying the process of the ratification intentionally to use the visa issue as leverage in dealing with other problems in bilateral relations.
Ryabkov said that the agreement meets Russian interests and Moscow views it “as the first step to the long-term goal, which is the transition to visa-free travel between the two countries.”
Moscow and Washington signed the agreement to ease visa requirements between the two countries in November 2011. Under the new rules, businessmen and tourists will get 3-year multi-entry visas, while government officials of both states will be able to receive one-year multi-entry visas. (more…)
The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bill this week that would blacklist several dozen Russian officials linked to the November 2009 death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The Kremlin has responded vehemently to the proposed action, promising to blacklist certain U.S. officials from entering Russia.
Magnitsky was a lawyer who worked for the UK-based Hermitage Capital Management firm in Russia.
In that capacity, he accused Russian tax and police officials of embezzling $230 million and was arrested by Russian police. He was beaten to death while in police custody, triggering an uproar from Russian and international human rights groups.
The Kremlin has tried to cover up the crime and has refused to cooperate with independent investigations.
The outrage reverberated in Washington. Last year, a group of U.S. senators led by John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill that would blacklist Russian officials involved in the case from entering the United States.
The United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Thursday to impose sanctions on a group of Russian officials connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-graft lawyer who died in a Russian prison.
Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 on charges of tax evasion, days after he accused Russian state tax authorities of participating in a $230 million tax refund fraud. He died a year later in a Moscow pre-trial detention center.
According to the US Committee of Foreign Affairs, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 will impose “sanctions [visa ban and asset freeze] on those responsible for the harassment, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was murdered during his investigation of corruption in the Russian government.”
The bill was introduced in April, by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission co-chairman Jim McGovern.
The opponents of the bill expressed fears that the new legislation would have a negative effect on the US-Russia relations, and could harm US exports to Russia. The U.S. National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) urged the Congress on Wednesday to oppose the bill.
According to the NFTC President Bill Reinsch “The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act is seriously flawed.” He adds that “This legislation would harm U.S. relations with Russia and many other nations, and would jeopardize the significant benefits arising from Russian concessions during its WTO accession negotiations.” (more…)
The human rights situation in Russia has long held a position in the agenda of the international human rights community. While several inter-governmental institutions and States have denounced the stifling of free speech and freedom of assembly, the harassment of journalists, the disappearances and the torture, any effort to tackle these issues cannot be described by such institutions and league of states as anything else than a failure. Upon an exposed disappearance one can count on strong words by the EU, the US and others. One can also count on the fact that not one government official will call their counterparts in Moscow and press them to investigate and bring those responsible to justice. Russia is a country with increasing number of middle class consumers and rich in natural resources. The conventional wisdom goes that Europe and US need the trade with Russia. This wisdom also trusts that the problems with human rights never spill into the area of international business. On 16 November 2009 this was proven wrong.
Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky died on that day in the Matrosskaya Tishina Prison in Moscow, Russia. He was a young, bright tax-lawyer, working for an internationallaw firm Firestone Duncan in Moscow. He loved his job. He loved his country. When he noticed that some corrupt officials were trying to steal $230,000,000 from their client, the Hermitage Capital Management fund, he reported this to the police. Instead of investigating this, the authorities had Sergey arrested. In prison they pressured him to sign a declaration to the effect that his report was false. He refused. On the evening of 16 November, the ambulance crew waited outside his prison door until he was dead. He had endured nearly 12 months of abuse.
The authorities thought that as with their other sanctioned acts of barbarism, the storm of criticism over this would also blow over in time. But after over two years, it remains on the global front page.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee this week will become the first panel to vote on human-rights legislation that lawmakers of both parties say is a precondition to normalizing trade relations with Russia.
The panel is scheduled to mark up the so-called Magnitsky bill, sponsored by U.S. Congressional Human Rights Commission co-chairman Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), on Thursday. The bill has the support of committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and is expected to easily pass the House despite Russian threats of retaliation.
“If this new anti-Russian law is adopted, then of course that demands measures in response,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Yuri Ushakov said last week. (more…)
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk will discuss in Moscow this week issues of US-Russia bilateral trade and economic cooperation in the context of the forthcoming Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. He will meet with Russian officials, as well as representatives of the business community, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) reported on Sunday.
Kirk will begin his trip to Russia with a visit to Kazan, where a two-day meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is opening on Monday. They will discuss issues of the development of regional economic integration, trade and investment liberalisation. In addition, the agenda of the meeting includes issues of improving transport and logistical chains, food security and intensive interaction for the strengthening of innovation-based growth.
After the forum, Ambassador Kirk will go to Moscow where on Wednesday he “will hold bilateral meetings with the Russian government” officials. The USTR Office has not specified with whom. The main issues under discussion are likely to be the forthcoming Russia’s accession to the WTO and the repeal by the US Congress of the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment. Earlier, the US Congress began debate on the final normalisation of trade and economic relations with Russia in light of its WTO accession. For the full normalisation of trade relations with Russia, the US Congress should repeal the discriminatory Jackson-Vanik amendment – a relic of the Cold War that once linked trade-related issues with freedom of emigration from the USSR. (more…)
Russian will not leave U.S. “attempts to interfere in our domestic affairs” without response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday, referring to visa sanctions imposed on Russian officials allegedly linked to the controversial death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pretrial detention center.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry’s attention was drawn to statements by U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul that U.S. entry bans for some of our country’s officials in the contest of the Magnitsky case were in line with the [U.S.] administration’s policy in the human rights sphere,” Lukashevich said.
“We consider such presentation of a problem unacceptable as it runs against not only the character of Russian-U.S. relations, but also the universally accepted principle of presumption of innocence,” he added.
Moscow has “repeatedly warned that such attempts to interfere in our domestic affairs will not be left without response,” he said.
Magnitsky, an anti-corruption lawyer who worked with the Hermitage Capital investment fund, died in Moscow’s infamous Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center in November 2009, a year after he was arrested on tax evasion charges. Shortly before his arrest, he claimed to have uncovered a massive fraud in which Moscow tax and police officials had allegedly embezzled $230 million of budget funds. (more…)