UK contemplating sanctions against foreign officials who abuse human rights
A bill allowing, similarly to the Magnitsky Act in the U.S., to freeze the assets of foreign officials who abuse anti-corruption and human rights activists cleared the UK House of Commons on Tuesday, BBC reports.
Speaking during the bill’s reading, Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “We need to make the UK a hostile environment for those seeking to move, hide and use the proceeds of crime and corruption.”
Passed unanimously by the Commons, the bill must now make its way through the Lords.
Founder of London-based Hermitage Capital Management (HCM) William Browder welcomed the third reading of the UK bill in the Commons as a “huge triumph” that would “cause perceptible fear for kleptocrats in Russia and other authoritarian regimes”.
The expectation the bill will clear the House of Lords easily, making Great Britain a third country – after the U.S. and Estonia – to have passed a law seeking to bring to justice those who are responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky.
Magnitsky, a legal advisor for HCM, died in prison in Russia in 2009 after revealing alleged fraud by state officials.
His death caused a huge international stir and prompted the U.S to sign the Magnitsky Act into law in 2012, pledging to deny visas to and freeze assets in the US of 18 people linked to the lawyer’s death.