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PHR Applauds US House Approval of Magnitsky Act

For Immediate Release

PHR applauds today’s vote by the US House of Representatives to pass legislation that would place sanctions on Russians implicated in the torture and death three years ago of a Russian anti-corruption lawyer.

The Magnitsky Act would require the US to place travel and financial restrictions on specific Russian officials associated with the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered and made public a $230 million fraud involving tax refunds.

“Mr. Magnitsky’s death in a Russian prison was almost certainly the result of torture and deliberate medical neglect,” said Susannah Sirkin, deputy director of PHR. “Three years later, Russia has failed to take significant action to identify and prosecute those responsible — another instance in a consistent pattern of impunity for officials who engage in torture and other human rights abuses. Today’s House vote is a welcome step toward providing Mr. Magnitsky’s family with some measure of justice, and we look forward to seeing the bill become law.”

The Magnitsky Act was attached to a bill granting Russia normal trade status with the US — a development long sought by Russia. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Magnitsky Act last summer, but the current legislation must still be passed by the Senate.

Last year, after conducting an independent medical investigation of Magnitsky’s death, PHR concluded that he had suffered from calculated and deliberate neglect and inhumane treatment in prison that ultimately led to his death.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

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