Kerry: US Senate May Take Up Magnitsky Bill Targeting Russian Officials

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 7:50 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senator John Kerry says a Senate committee may take up a bill imposing sanctions on Russian officials involved in the 2009 prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Kerry, a Democrat who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday he would like to put it on the agenda when the Senate returns from recess next month.

The bill would deny visas to and freeze the American assets of Russian officials linked to Magnitsky's arrest and death.

Senator Ben Cardin, another Democrat, proposed the Sergei Magnitsky bill last year. But lawmakers have taken no action on it. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul calls a new sanctions bill unnecessary, saying Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky case are already under U.S. sanctions.

Magnitsky worked for the investment firm Hermitage Capital. He was jailed after accusing Hermitage officials and Russian Interior Ministry officials of fraud.

Russian human rights activists say he was likely beaten to death while in prison.