New European Commission must introduce Magnitsky law

Fifty European parliamentarians call on the new President of the European Commission Ursala von der Leyen to make the creation of a European Magnitsky law one of the top priorities of European foreign policy.

“We are at a crucial crossroads in our common history as the world around us becomes more insecure and the geopolitical power relations are shifting,” states the letter from D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, co-signed by parliamentarians and MEPs from France, among others, Germany and the United Kingdom.

MPs Martijn van Helvert (CDA), Bram van Ojik (GroenLinks), Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA) and Joël Voordewind (CU) also support the call.

Sjoerdsma calls it a “big blunder” that the new Commission, which starts on Monday, has not included the Magnitsky Act in the list of priorities for the coming policy period. “The choices that this Commission will make will determine whether the European Union remains a stronghold of peace and democracy in a turbulent world,”

He is annoyed by the free convictions of the European Union when human rights are under pressure abroad. “Especially now that the US is moving backwards on the world stage, the United Nations seems to be paralyzed and autocracies such as Russia and China are gaining strength and weight, the European Union should no longer behave like a geopolitical dwarf. The EU is a superpower and must Sjoerdsma. “The Magnitsky Act offers human rights policy the teeth it needs to be able to bite.”

The law is named after the Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky. In 2009 he died under suspicious circumstances in a prison cell in Moscow. Magnitsky is said to have encountered tax fraud by Russian officials, thereby harming the American company Hermitage Capital, Bill Browder.

While Browder is being sought by Russia for having to serve a nine-year prison sentence for tax evasion, among other things, the American businessman is arguing in various Western countries to punish human rights violators in Russia. The US, Canada and Great Britain, among others, already have a Magnitsky law.

Sjoerdsma believes that the European Union cannot lag behind. “Sergei Magnitsky died in a Russian cell because he did not accept the corruption of the Russian state.”

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