Lithuania's 'Magnitsky act' makes headway in parliament

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Sergey Magnitsky
Foto: AP / Scanpix

Lithuania's Magnitsky legislation banning entry to foreigners involved in large-scale corruption, money laundering or human rights violations is making headway in the parliament.

The Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday unanimously approved the respective amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens.

"As a political sanction, individuals who have committed gross violations of human rights or corruption offences in other countries will be denied entry to the Republic of Lithuania," Juozas Bernatonis, the committee's chairman, told BNS after the meeting.

"We believe that this poses a threat to our state," he added.

Under the draft law approved the committee, a foreigner would be banned from coming to Lithuania for up to five years if there are serious grounds to believe that he or she has committed a serious or very serious crime against a person in a foreign country and human rights and freedoms have been violated as a result of this, has committed a corruption offense or has been involved money laundering, or is on the national list of foreigners denied entry to a EU, EFTA and NATO member state.

A decision on banning entry to such a foreigner would be made by the interior minister at the foreign minister's proposal.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, an initiator of the legislation, said that the amendments had been drafted with reference to the case of Sergey Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in a prison after exposing a fraud involving Russian officials.

According to Landsbergis, the leader of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the foreign minister will be asked to blacklist Russian officials involved in that case as soon as the Seimas passes the amendments.

The United States in 2012 passed the so-called Magnitsky Act that imposed sanctions on a list of Russian officials believed to be responsible for human rights violations, banning visas for them and freezing their assets. Currently, there are over 40 names on the list.

Source: BNS
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