President Barack Obama plans to sign into law a bill that normalizes permanent trade relations with Russia, but which also seeks to punish Russians guilty of human rights abuses.
Last Thursday the Senate passed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, and the House approved the same measure last month. The law honors Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who allegedly uncovered massive tax fraud in Russia that involved several Russian tax officials. After Magnitsky confronted those officials with his evidence, he was arrested and detained in a Moscow prison, where he died three years ago.
The Magnitsky law includes sanctions that will blacklist any Russians implicated in Magnitsky’s death or other human rights abuses.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, is the author of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. After his bill was passed, Cardin said, "Human rights violators in all corners of the world should understand that the United States is committed to support and defend human dignity and justice for those who stand up against oppression."