PRESS RELEASE US Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Magnitsky Law and Russia Policy 14 December 2011 – In response to the

deteriorating human rights situation and parliamentary fraud in Russia, the Senate is moving forward with the Sergei Magnitsky bill. Today, the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on European Affairs will hold a hearing to discuss U.S. policy options towards Russia, including the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act which will legislate visa and economic sanctions on human rights abusers in Russia. Today’s hearing will be presided by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, chair of the Senate Subcommittee and one of the co-sponsors of the Sergei Magnitsky bill. David Kramer, president of Freedom House and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who is one of the advocates of the Sergei Magnitsky legislation, will speak at the hearing. “The point is to make clear to Russian officials that if you don’t murder journalists, lawyers, and opponents or engage in other gross human rights abuses, then you have nothing to fear from the bill,” said Mr. Kramer. 26 U.S. senators are now co-sponsoring the ‘Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability’ legislation which was introduced in May by the co-chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Senator Benjamin Cardin. After today’s hearing at the Senate Subcommittee, the next step for the bill is the consideration by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry. Earlier Senator Kerry stated his support for the visa sanctions on Russian officials in the Magnitsky case that had been independently imposed by the U.S. administration in July. “Respect for human rights is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. The committee is deeply concerned about what happened to Sergei Magnitsky, and I strongly support the administration’s decision to use its authority to bar human-rights abusers from coming to the U.S.” “The bill caused the State Department to ban certain Russian officials implicated in the Magnitsky case, though this is not sufficient, and these individuals should also be added to an asset-freeze list,” said David Kramer. “The only way to have serious investigations and prosecutions in the Magnitsky or other cases—and to go beyond prison officials but to include Ministry of Interior officials who were responsible for Magnitsky’s incarceration in the first place—is to keep the pressure on and pass the bill,” said David Kramer.

Co-sponsors of the Sergei Magnitsky bill, U.S. senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) released last week a statement on the unrest following the Russian elections: “We condemn the sweeping arrests of hundreds of opposition leaders, journalists, and human rights activists in Russia and the use of violence against peaceful protesters by Russian security forces… The protests underway in Russia right now are in response to the blatant fraud that characterized Sunday's election in Russia, which, according to the independent international election observers, clearly violated international standards and Russia's own laws.” The judges in Moscow who sanctioned the arrests of Russian opposition figures protesting the parliamentary election fraud have been involved in the wrongful incarceration of Sergei Magnitsky and denial to him of life-saving medical care and are included on the list issued by the U.S. Helsinki Commission last April, known as the Magnitsky list. “In the absence of accountability and rule of law in Russia, American and European parliamentarians have made it clear that if Russian officials engage in major human rights abuses, they and their immediate families cannot enjoy the privilege of traveling to, living or studying in the West, or doing their banking in Western financial institutions,” explained David Kramer the rationale for the bill. “Threats from Russian officials that passage of the Magnitsky legislation would sink the reset policy and end cooperation on issues such as Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan are hollow. Russia presumably is cooperating with us on these strategic challenges because it is in their interest to do so, not because they’re doing us favors,” said David Kramer about Russia’s response.

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Details for the USSenate Subcommittee on European Affairs Hearing

The State of Human Rights and Rule of Law in Russia: U.S. Policy Options 10:00 AM Wednesday, December 14, 2011 419 Senate Dirksen Office Building