The country’s top elections official said he has been “honored” to be included in the “Magnitsky list” of Russian officials blacklisted for U.S. entry over human rights violations. Vladimir Churov, chairman of the Central Elections Commission, said as a result he would not be able to travel to the United States to work as an observer at the U.S. presidential election in November 2012.
“Of course, I don’t have anything to do with [Sergei] Magnitsky,” Churov said in an interview with Dozhd television aired Tuesday night. “I’ve never seen him, I don’t know him, I had not heard [about him] before the story about his death.”
Hermitage Capital lawyer Magnitsky was detained in 2008 by law enforcement officials whom he accused of defrauding the government of millions of dollars. He died in pretrial detention 11 months later of health problems and, according to an independent, Kremlin-ordered investigation, a severe beating administered by prison guards just hours before his death. No one has been charged in connection with his death.
U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin introduced last year a bill proposing sanctions against 60 Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky’s death. The bill has never been passed, but the State Department confirmed this summer that dozens of unspecified Russian officials had been blacklisted over the Magnitsky case.