EU may adopt ‘Magnitsky Act’ counterpart

On December 9, EU foreign ministers announced the developing of a European ‘Magnitsky Act’. Being eager to adopt the corresponding experience of the United States, the bloc is mulling over imposing asset freezes and travel bans on individuals involved in human rights abuses.

“We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States,” quotes the EU’s new chief diplomat Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels.

The sanctions regime, under discussion, is inspired by the US Magnitsky Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012, with the aim of targeting the Russian officials deemed responsible for the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

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Mr Magnitsky died in prison in 2009 – allegedly after beatings – but Russia dropped an investigation into his death. His case cast a spotlight on corruption in Russia. The Magnitsky Act is a bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama in 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death. The act barred them from entering the United States or using its banking system.

Later, the United States imposed sanctions on a bigger group of Russian officials allegedly involved in corrupt practices and breach of human rights.

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