Swedish lawmakers have requested the government to press for a European asset freeze and travel ban against Russian officials linked to the high-profile death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, the Hermitage Capital fund said on Monday.
Magnitsky, who was detained after accusing officials of fraud, reportedly died due to torture and neglect. Two doctors were charged over his death in August last year.
Hermitage Capital said in a statement that 59 members of Swedish parliament requested that Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt seek European-level sanctions “due to Russia’s non-compliance with its obligations to EU nations, as well as its membership in the Council of Europe and WTO accession.”
"Russia should comply with its obligations in the human rights sphere. The continuing impunity of officials linked to the Magnitsky case is inconsistent with those obligations,” a Swedish lawmaker and PACE Culture Committee's standing rapporteur on media freedom Mats Johansson said.
The United States and Netherlands have placed a visa ban on 60 Russian officials linked to Magnitsky's death. Russia has responded in kind, but neither country has actually implemented the bans so far.
British lawmakers urged the implementation of similar sanctions last week, however, the government did not support the motion.
Magnitsky was jailed in November 2008 after exposing a $230 million tax scam involving senior tax and interior ministry officials, while working for the British investment fund Hermitage Capital. He suffered deliberate neglect and beatings before dying in his cell a year later, the Kremlin rights body said in a report last year.
Meanwhile, Moscow’s Basmanny Court rejected an appeal by Magnitsky’s former colleague James Firestone against the Russian investigative authority’s failure to act on his statement providing information about the fraud scheme.
“Firestone wrote a statement about a crime, committed by certain people who embezzled over five billion rubles. This statement has been going around in circles for a year and has recently been handed over to the Investigative Committee, where it was initially submitted,” Firestone’s legal representative Alexander Antipov said.
“He [Firestone] appeals this failure to act. We believe this was done deliberately to cover those guilty of committing the crime,” he added.