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Lithuanian Lawmakers Pass Magnitsky-Inspired Human Rights Legislation

Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow jail in 2009. (file photo)
Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow jail in 2009. (file photo)

Lithuania’s parliament has passed new human rights legislation modeled on the U.S. Magnitsky Act, the 2012 law that infuriated Moscow and prompted a ban on Americans adopting Russian children.

The measure, which passed the Seim overwhelmingly, makes Lithuania the fifth country to adopt such legislation targeting Russians deemed to have committed either financial crimes or human rights violations.

The bill contains a list of 44 Russians, including Investigative Committee Chairman Aleksandr Bastrykin, who will face a travel ban and other measures.

The Magnitsky laws are named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in a Moscow jail in 2009 after suffering what his supporters said amounted to torture. Magnitsky had been jailed by Russian authorities after he helped uncover a $230 million tax fraud scheme. He was later convicted posthumously of the crime.

His employer, British-American investor Bill Browder, has also faced related criminal charges, and Russia has repeatedly sought his extradition.

The Kremlin reacted to the passage of the U.S. law by banning all adoptions of Russian children by American parents. In subsequent years, Russian officials with ties to authorities have conducted a shadowy lobbying campaign in Washington and elsewhere, seeking to undermine the accepted narrative of Magnitsky’s death.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Dalia Grybauskaite in the coming days.

Aside from Lithuania and the United States, Canada, Estonia, and Britain have passed similar laws.

With reporting by the Baltic News Service
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