(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the following statement today regarding her meeting with Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Nemtsov was in Washington to observe the House debate and passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which imposes sanctions on Russian officials and others involved in the death and cover-up of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was beaten to death in police custody in 2009 for uncovering high-level corruption in the Russian government. It also imposes sanctions on those who have participated in the persecution of individuals who expose illegal government activity or who are seeking to exercise their basic human rights. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I am very pleased to have met today with Boris Nemstov, a key leader of the Russian opposition movement, who has been repeatedly imprisoned for daring to defy President Vladimir Putin’s regime. His bravery and leadership continue to inspire the embattled democracy and human rights movement in his country.
“Our meeting was of special significance on this historic day when the House passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan majority the Sergei Magnitsky Act. It is also the 3rd anniversary of Magnitsky’s death while in police custody. Mr. Nemtsov stated that Putin had made stopping this legislation his upmost priority because it threatens to ensnare those closest to him.
“By its vote, the House has sent all the brave Russians who are struggling to bring democracy and a respect for human rights to their country the message that the United States stands with them in their unequal struggle. It is my hope that the Senate will quickly approve the House-passed bill so that it can be signed into law and government officials and others in Russia will finally understand that their days of immunity from their crimes are over.”
Note: H.R. 4405, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, was incorporated as Title IV into H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. H.R. 6156 was approved by a vote of 365 to 43.
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