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Canada Passes Version Of Magnitsky Act, Raising Moscow’s Ire


The law was inspired by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who helped uncover a massive tax-fraud scheme in Russia but was arrested by authorities and died in a Moscow jail in 2009. (file photo)

Canada has passed its version of the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russians for alleged human rights abuses, sparking angry comments from Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin.

The Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), which earlier passed both houses of the Canadian Parliament, on October 19 received royal assent, which is required before a bill can come into force.

The law will allow for the freezing of assets and visa bans on officials from Russia and other nations considered to be guilty of human rights violations.

It will also prevent Canadian firms from dealing with foreign nationals who are "responsible for, or complicit in, extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

The United States passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012 with similar sanctions for Russians alleged to be involved in human rights violations.

The law was inspired by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who helped uncover a massive tax-fraud scheme in Russia but was arrested by authorities and died in a Moscow jail in 2009.

His friends and family say he was tortured while incarcerated, and a Council of Europe investigation concluded that the conditions leading up to his death amounted to torture.

Russia on October 4 said it would retaliate tit-for-tat should the Canadian bill become law.

When asked about the Canadian action during a talk in Sochi on October 19, Putin said that "the issue is simply used for fanning anew anti-Russian hysteria."

The Russian Embassy in Ottawa said in a Twitter post that the law was an "irrational act."

Based on reporting by the CBS, TASS, and CTV News
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