Canada backs sanctions against foreign officials in abuse cases

PUBLISHED ON THU, MAY 18, 2017 10:58 AM

Canada backs sanctions against foreign officials in abuse cases

By David Ljunggren

REUTERS

 

r10.jpg 

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland gestures as she arrives to pose for a family photo during a G7 for foreign ministers in Lucca, Italy April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi

 

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada backs imposing sanctions on officials from Russia and other nations who are deemed guilty of human rights violations, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday, pressuring Moscow over the high-profile case of a dead whistleblower.

 

Freeland said Canada's Liberal government supported draft legislation inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky, an anti-corruption lawyer who died in 2009 after a year in a Russian jail.

 

The proposed Sergei Magnitsky Law would let Ottawa seize the assets and property of foreign officials. The bill, proposed by an opposition legislator, has widespread backing and is certain to become law.

 

"Our government supports expanding the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted ... to include cases of gross violations of human rights and foreign corruption," Freeland told Parliament, citing strong global interest in the Magnitsky case.

 

"I truly believe this is the direction the world is going and I think it will send a strong message," she added.

 

In 2012, the United States adopted a law freezing any U.S. assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors said to have been involved in the detention of Magnitsky, who had alleged major tax fraud by Russian officials. In retaliation, Moscow barred Americans from adopting Russian children.

 

The Canadian announcement is set to chill ties further with Moscow, which Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have condemned over the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.

 

Representatives at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa were not immediately available for comment.

 

The bill says Canada can punish those "responsible for, or complicit in, extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross violations of internationally recognised human rights" against people who try to expose illegal activity by government officials or promote human rights.

 

Freeland took over as foreign minister in January from Stephane Dion, who showed less enthusiasm for the proposed law.

 

"We are delighted the government has finally stopped dragging its feet on a global Magnitsky-style sanctions regime," said Peter Kent, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Conservative Party.

 

Moscow banned Freeland in 2014 in response to Canadian sanctions against Russian officials over Crimea.

 

Last month Britain formally approved legal amendments allowing authorities to freeze the assets of alleged human rights violators. The measure was inspired by Magnitsky's death.

 

The Kremlin's own human rights council has said there was evidence suggesting Magnitsky was beaten to death. But President Vladimir Putin has dismissed allegations of foul play, saying Magnitsky died of heart failure.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney and Leslie Adler)

 
reuters_logo.jpg
-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-05-18
latest news from World

Commuter train crash in Barcelona station injures 48 A commuter train is seen crashed into a railway buffer in Barcelona's Francia station, Spain July 28, 2017 in this still image from a video obtained from social media. Courtesy of Felix Rios /via REUTERS MADRID (Reuters) - A commuter train...

READ MORE...

Pakistan's top court disqualifies PM Sharif from office Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks out the window of his plane after attending a ceremony to inaugurate the M9 motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad, Pakistan February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's...

READ MORE...

EU citizens will still be allowed to come to live and work in UK after Brexit, Home Secretary revealsBy Gordon Rayner, political editor Jack Maidment, political correspondent  LONDON: -- EU citizens will still be allowed to come to the UK to live and work after Brexit as long as they register with...

READ MORE...

White House divisions on display with Scaramucci's comments White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci speaks during an on air interview at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The rifts inside President Donald Trump's White...

READ MORE...
sponsors