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Write to Your MP on the Sergei Magnitsky Case

posted 1 Jan 2013, 05:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 Jan 2013, 05:52 ]
1 January 2013

Below is a template provided from the UK for a letter to Members of Parliament in support of justice for Sergei Magnitsky. You are welcome to use this letter wholly or in part as a template for your own - and you are welcome to amend the letter as you wish. The author notes that you do not need to be a British citizen to contact your MP: as long as you are a UK resident the MP must consider your request and respond.

[Photo of Sergei Magnitsky:]

[name of your MP – look up at

House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA 

Dear [Mr/Ms Name of your MP],                                                                                                  [Date] 31 January 2012 

Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian attorney representing a UK-based investment firm, died in November 2009 after being held for 358 days in a pre-trial detention centre. He had been arrested after discovering systematic and large-scale corruption and theft from the Russian government sanctioned by officials. Though suffering from serious ill-health, including gall stones and pancreatitis, he was refused adequate medical treatment and died eight days before he would have had to be released or brought to trial. Evidence later emerged that Sergei was subjected to torture, beatings and other inhuman and degrading treatment. 

To date, not a single person was held accountable in Russia for Sergei’s death. Worse, posthumous prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky for crimes committed by others or not committed at all is now underway. Failure to investigate and prosecute Sergei Magnitsky’s death is contrary to Russia’s international obligations as member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

On 23 October 2012, the European Parliament adopted a recommendation to the Council on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case. On 14 December 2012, President Obama signed into law the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act 2012 (the “Magnitsky Act”), imposing visa restrictions on Russian officials responsible for Sergei’s death and denying them access to the US banking system. The Magnitsky Act allows for similar sanctions to be adopted in relation to other persons responsible for gross human rights abuses in Russia.

The furious reaction of the Russian lawmakers and President Putin, who responded to the Magnitsky Act by outlawing (after just two weeks’ deliberation and despite wide-spread public condemnation) the adoption by American families of disabled Russian orphans, demonstrates beyond any doubt the inhuman nature of the ruling Russian cleptocracy. It also shows the effectiveness of the US measures as accurately targeting this cleptocracy where it hurts the most.

The UK attracts millions of pounds in Russian money, invested largely into luxury goods, services and real estate. Much of this money belongs to persons occupying public office in Russia and its provenance is often linked to corruption and gross human rights violations. Corrupt Russian officials should not be allowed access to British soil and luxury goods and services any more than they should be in the US. 

I should be grateful if you would inform me:

1) Whether you support the European Parliament’s recommendation dated 23 October 2012. 
2) Whether you support the Magnitsky Act and the adoption of similar legislation in the UK. 
3) Whether you would advocate Russia’s expulsion from the Council of Europe and the OSCE for gross and repeated human rights violations. 
4) What work is planned or underway in Parliament in relation to the above matters. 
5) Whether you would be prepared to raise the above matter at Prime Minister's Question Time.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your UK address]