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Interpol Said To Eye New Russian Bid For Browder's Arrest

  • RFE/RL

Britain-based businessman William Browder says the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) will revisit Russia’s request for his arrest on charges linked to whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow jail five years ago this week.

Interpol informed Browder that it will consider the request during a November 20-21 meeting at the organization’s headquarters in Lyon, France, he told RFE/RL.

Interpol has twice rejected earlier Russian requests for a so-called "red notice" against Browder, citing Russia’s “political” goals in the matter.

Russian prosecutors said in June that Interpol had decided to reconsider Russia’s request.

Interpol could not immediately be reached for comment.

Browder has led a global campaign for sanctions against Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky’s death on November 16, 2009.

A Russian court convicted Browder in absentia and Magnitsky posthumously on tax evasion charges last year, decisions slammed by Western governments and rights groups.

Browder told RFE/RL that the basis for Russia’s new push for an Interpol warrant against him is linked to Magnitsky’s posthumous trial, which he called “one of the most scandalous legal proceedings in legal history."

“It’s surprising that Russia would have the nerve to use this as a basis to have me arrested, and it’s even more surprising that Interpol would even entertain this discussion," Browder said.

Magnitsky died under torturous jail conditions after exposing a massive scheme involving Russian officials to steal $230 million from state coffers.

Browder is set to speak at November 18 event in London focused on the political situation in Russia five years after Magnitsky’s death.

Other prominent Kremlin critics are slated to speak at the event, which will be chaired by British member of parliament Chris Bryant.

They include Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of the punk art collective Pussy Riot, opposition activist Yevgenia Chirikova, and Mikhail Kasyanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former prime minister who has become a vocal opponent of his ex-boss.

The chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee, Isabel Santos, said in a statement on the eve of the five-year anniversary of Magnitsky’s death that he died “for speaking truth to power.”

“Let us renew our call for an end to impunity in Russia, not only for the people who killed this true patriot, but for the systemic corruption, human rights transgressions and lack of rule of law that have led to his and other unacceptable deaths there," Santos said in the statement.

The U.S. Helsinki Commission also marked the five-year anniversary with its chairman, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, issuing a statement.

"During the past five years, the crimes that Sergei first exposed have been further documented. Despite credible evidence of criminal conduct resulting in Mr. Magnitsky’s death, Russian government officials have failed to bring those responsible to justice," Cardin said in the statement.