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Russia's State Duma passes bill reciprocating US Magnitsky Act

December 14, 2012, 18:52 UTC+3

The Foreign Minister will be expected to report to the State Duma and the Federation Council on actions in connection with the law at least once a year

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MOSCOW, December 14 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has passed a Bill on Measures of Impact on the Individuals Involved in Encroachments on the Rights of Citizens of the Russian Federation.

A total of 431 MPs voted in favor of the bill, while two MPs voted against it. There were no abstentions.

It prohibits entry of Russia’s territory for the U.S. citizens who have committed offenses against the citizens of Russia sojourning abroad or who have been involved in the execution of such offenses. Its provisions apply to the individuals entrusted with state powers if they have facilitated the release of people involved in crimes against or in the abduction or unlawful imprisonment of Russian citizens, have issued unjustified or biased sentences against Russian citizens or have otherwise participated in the groundless persecution of the latter.

Along with this, the bill makes provisions for the arrests of financial assets of the U.S. citizens, who have been declared personae non gratae in Russia and the imposition of embargoes on any transactions with real estate for them.

In addition to this, they Americans fall into the non grata category in connection with the aforesaid offenses will face a ban on managing property on the territory of Russia. Prohibitions will affect the activity of the legal entities under their control and suspension of their powers on the boards of directors or other bodies of corporate governance registered in Russia.

The list of U.S. citizens who will be denied entry of the Russian territory will be compiled and updated by the Foreign Ministry but proposals on the blacklists will be received from members of both houses of Russia’s Federal Assembly, political parties, and the ombudsman for human rights.

The Foreign Minister will be expected to report to the State Duma and the Federation Council on actions in connection with the law at least once a year.

The bill was initiated by the State Duma Speaker, Sergei Naryshkin, and leaders of all the four parliamentary factions.

Proposals came earlier from members of different factions to codename the new act ‘The Dima Yakovlev Bill’ in memory of a Russian boy, who died several years ago in an adoptive family in the U.S.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, a deputy chairman of the Duma foreign policy committee said it is clear already now who will be placed on the list.

“These will be the killers of Russian children and the people who allowed them to get away with their crimes, the agents of secret services who kidnap Russian citizens abroad, the judges who sentence Russian citizens to inconceivable jail terms, and the bosses supervising the Guantanamo jail where people are tortured brutally,” he said.

The new law will take effect as of January 1, 2013.

The bill reciprocates the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act adopted by the U.S. Congress, which bans the entry of the U.S. for the Russian officials involved in the highly controversial case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a pretrial investigations center in Moscow in November 2009.

The Magnitsky Bill also imposes a freeze on the assets, which the Russian officials in question may have in the U.S. banks.

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