At the end of last month, Sen. Benjamin Cardin requested a visa ban against the 60 or so members of the Russian government who stand accused of ignoring the plight of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died following medical mistreatment in prison. In this excerpt below from the hearing at Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, it appears that Cardin got the list of names entered into official record, while calling for other countries to follow suit with corresponding visa bans. It’s hard to believe that this is a very effective measure against corruption, but at least it’s something. Leave it to the Americans to always think the whole world wants to come here. No visa to London, on the other hand, would make some people move in Moscow.
The Chairman: Yes, Senator Cardin.
Senator Cardin: Mr. Chairman, yesterday I sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, asking that the Department impose visa sanctions on 16 individuals in Russia who have been linked to a $230-million corruption scheme, torture, and death, and jail of anticorruption attorney Sergei Magnitsky.
This issue stems from a hearing I chaired in the Helsinki Commissionwhich highlighted a case of the Hermitage Capital Management and theplight of the company’s lawyer. Mr. Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russiancitizen, father of two, was repeatedly denied medical treatment while heawaited trial and trumped-up charges.
A visa is a privilege, not a right, and the State Department has thepower to revoke that privilege. Directives, including PresidentialProclamation 7750, allow the State Department to bar visas from going toforeign individuals engaged in, or benefiting from, corruption. And Iexpect them to use it in this case.
Sixty names on the list I submitted to Secretary Clinton includesenior officials from the Russian Interior Ministry, Federal SecurityService, Federal Tax Service, arbitration courts, general prosecutor’soffice, and federal prison service, along with a detailed description oftheir involved in the case. These officials remain unpunished and in aposition of power.
Mr. Chairman, I would ask this list be included in the committee record.
The Chairman: Without objection.