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MPs say Russia’s stance on Magnitsky list to ensure law and order in country

April 27, 2013, 22:33 UTC+3

Sergei Zheleznyak, one of the United Russia leaders, said the “Magnitsky list” is “absolutely artificial and biased”

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MOSCOW, April 27 (Itar-Tass) - The position of the Interior and Justice Ministries and of the judicial community with regard to law enforcers included in the so-called “Magnitsky list” is “the only correct one”, State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Chair Irina Yarovaya of United Russia told Itar-Tass on Saturday, April 27.

“Attempts by foreign countries to intimidate Russian law enforcement personnel and influence the lawfulness and independence of decisions they make are predeterminedly futile,” she said. “Let all the whims of the Department of State and American senators stay with them.”

Yarovaya is convinced that the principled position assumed by the leadership of Russian law enforcement agencies with regard to officials included in the “Magnitsky list” is an important guarantee not only of their personnel’s security but also of law and order in the country, and therefore of the security of people.

“Any employee will work honestly, effectively and well only if he understands that the main criterion for evaluating his work is professionalism and unconditional compliance with statutory requirements,” the MP said.

Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak, one of the United Russia leaders, said the “Magnitsky list” is “absolutely artificial and biased”. “In any country even a law student understands the importance of such words as sovereignty, limits of national jurisdiction and presumption of innocence,” he told ITAR-TASS. “In this respect, the American authorities’ actions to adopt the Magnitsky Act and publish the related list constitute a direct violation of all basic principles of international, including American and Russian, law because they punish people whose guilt has not been determined by court and they take steps with regard to persons who are not U.S. citizens, and the actions they are incriminated of did not occur in the United States and therefore do not fall under U.S. jurisdiction,” Zheleznyak said.

“Unfortunately, America has become used to acting as a capricious baby for whom his own ‘I want or I don’t want’ is the main principle. But one can’t exist with such principles in a modern civilised world. This is why America is followed by conflicts on all continents,” the MP said.

“If America had some facts that could help the investigation, they should have provided them so that they could be taken into account when the investigation was conducted and the decision made,” he said, adding, “No such facts were provided and the list published by the U.S. is absolutely artificial and biased.”

“At the same time, they stubbornly turn a blind eye to gross human rights violations, including tortures and killings, which occur in the Guantanamo prison in Cuba and which occurred in secret prisons in third countries,” Zheleznyak said. “Such one-sidedness of the American position confirms that all actions taken under the Magnitsky Act are biased and politically motivated.”

State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said earlier that Moscow’s response to the U.S. Magnitsky list is “adequate and normal”.

“We did not want to turn it into a political war, but Russia’s reaction will always be identical,” Pushkov said.

In his opinion, by introducing the Magnitsky list, the United States created a strong anti-Russian background in the world. “We can already speak of a negative background for the visit to Moscow by President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, the purpose of which is to continue the dialogue on the reset,” he said.

Russia’s response to the U.S. Magnitsky list has been identical, symmetrical and predictable, political scientist and MP Vyacheslav Nikonov told ITAR-TASS.

“The very fact that such lists are compiled indicates a very low level of relations between the two countries,” he said.

Nikonov noted that the United States usually took such steps with regard to pariah states. “Russia’s response was no less painful,” he added.

In his opinion, the fact that fewer people were included in the list than was expected suggests that “President [Barack] Obama’s administration does not wish further escalation of tensions in the bilateral dialogue.”

“I hope that the U.S. will stop at that. Otherwise, Russia will always respond to new American lists with its own ones,” he said.

Earlier, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said the inclusion of law enforcers in the “Magnitsky list” would not affect their careers. Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov gave similar assurances.

The Magnitsky list is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Hermitage Capital lawyer who was reportedly investigating corruption among some high-ranking Russian officials.

Magnitsky, a 37-year-old attorney of the British investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, was charged with assisting in tax evasion. He died at the intensive care unit of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison infirmary on November 16, 2009, eleven months after he was taken into custody and seven days after he was indicted.

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