Saturday

20th Apr 2019

European MPs call for international enquiry into Magnitsky affair

Sixty nine MPs from across Europe have called for an international enquiry into the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The deputies - who hail mostly from EU countries, but also Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland - signed the motion at the human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe (CoE), in Strasbourg on Wednesday (25 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Putin's Russia: 1,010 people died in pre-trial detention between 2009 and 2011 (Photo: kremlin.ru)

If the council's steering group at its meeting on Friday gives the green light, the motion will trigger an in-depth investigation on the model of previous enquiries into CIA renditions, organ smuggling in Kosovo and death squads in Belarus.

"The competent authorities have ... failed to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible for Mr Magnitsky's death," the motion says.

"For the sake of its own credibility and that of the Russian Federation, the [CoE] should now engage in co-operation with Russia, through the preparation of a dedicated report, in order to fully elucidate this landmark case."

The man behind the initiative, Dutch centre-right MP Pieter Omtzigt, said the level of political support for his proposal "suggests the truly emblematic nature of the Magnitsky case."

His words echo EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who said in a letter to outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on 18 April that the Magnitsky affair "has come to symbolise the state of the rule of law and judiciary in the Russian Federation."

Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old father-of-two who was allegedly tortured and beaten to death in a Russian jail in 2009 after exposing a high-level tax-embezzlement gang in the interior ministry.

The EU has in the past said it might follow the US by imposing a travel ban or asset freeze on a list of 60-or-so suspects, but only after Russia completes its internal investigation. The outcome of the Russian probe - which excludes 59 of them to focus on potential negligence by a prison doctor - was on Tuesday postponed for the 12th time since it began.

Magnitsky's family and former employers expect Russian CoE envoys to try to quash the motion at Friday's meeting.

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us