On Thursday, February 8, the Latvian Saeima approved the introduction of sanctions against those on the so-called Magnitsky List, Delfi news outlet reports.
The bill, previously approved by the Parliamentary Commission for Foreign Affairs, lists 49 individuals who will be banned from entering Latvia. The results of the vote led the Saeima to call on the Cabinet of Ministers to impose the sanctions.
According to the main provisions of the Magnitsky Act, foreigners who are associated with large-scale corruption, money laundering or human rights violations will be banned from entering the country.
As explained earlier by the head of the Saeima Commission of Foreign Affairs Ojārs Kalniņš, the decision to support the bill “is a matter of honor for Latvia as a democratic and lawful state, and also a matter of conscience for each deputy of the Saeima.”
Kalniņš also noted that the imposing of sanctions with regard to the Magnitsky case means that Latvia is following in the footsteps of the U.S. Congress, the parliaments of Canada, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Estonia, where legal actions “symbolically named after Magnitsky” have already been adopted.
“With its decision, the Saeima condemns Russia, which has not sufficiently investigated the circumstances of Magnitsky’s death, and also emphasizes that Latvia consistently opposes outright violations of human rights, financial fraud and corruption. The decision also calls on all parliaments of the EU and NATO countries to adopt “Magnitsky laws” in order to strengthen the legal environment. The Latvian Saeima supports sanctions at the EU Level,” the report said.
Sergey Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital, accused Russian authorities of massive embezzlement, which was sanctioned and carried out by top Russian officials. He was arrested on charges of tax avoidance and died in prison after spending 358 days there. It is believed that Magnitsky was not provided with proper medical care.
Bill named after Magnitsky are already in force in the US (from 2012) and in Canada (since October 18, 2017). They impose personal sanctions against Russian citizens suspected of involvement in human rights violations.