13 February 2013 – Ahead of the upcoming posthumous trial in Russia of Sergei Magnitsky, scheduled in Moscow for next Monday, European lawmakers called upon the European Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton to implement EU-wide visa sanctions and asset freezes against Russian officials implicated in the Magnitsky case. The recommendation to introduce visa sanctions and asset freezes was adopted by the European Parliament last October in an overwhelming vote in favor.
“The broad parliamentary support for this recommendation reflects the widespread indignation, in Russia and around the world, over the arrest of Mr Magnitsky, the inhuman conditions of his detention and the serious allegations surrounding his subsequent death in custody,” said the group of lawmakers on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament.
“The continuing posthumous prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky is a further violation of international and Russian law and clearly indicates the malfunctioning of the Russian criminal justice system and the systemic failure of the Russian state to protect its citizens,” wrote the European parliamentarians Guy Verhofstadt, Kristiina Ojuland, Marietje Schaake, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff in their formal address posted on the European Parliament’s website.
“While recognising that visa restrictions and other restrictive measures are not traditional judicial sanctions per se but constitute a political signal of the EU’s concern to a larger target audience and thus remain a necessary and legitimate foreign policy tool, does the VP/HR [vice-president of the European Commission] intend to raise this matter at the Foreign Affairs Council?” asked the European parliamentarians writing on behalf of the ALDE group in the European Parliament.
Parliamentarians are calling for answers on the position of Catherine Ashton, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on the “need to establish a common EU list of officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky and for the subsequent judicial cover-up, to impose and implement an EU-wide visa ban on these officials and to freeze any financial assets they or their immediate family may hold inside the European Union.”
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See Question from ALDE on European Parliament website: