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Canada Considers 'Magnitsky List' Ban

The diplomatic fallout from the prison death of Sergei Magnitsky has spread to Canada, where a bill has been floated to create another "Magnitsky list" of Russian officials barred from entering the country, similar to that already in place in the United States.

The proposed bill — quietly posted Friday on the Canadian Parliament's web site — comes a week after the Russian Foreign Ministry pushed back against the U.S. list, saying it was creating its own file of American officials blocked from entering Russia.

The 37-year-old lawyer died in 2009 while awaiting trial on fraud charges that have been widely criticized. Officials initially blamed his death on health problems, but an independent, Kremlin-ordered investigation, later ruled that Magnitsky was badly beaten by prison guards hours before dying.

Two prison doctors are under investigation for negligence, but no senior officials have been charged.

The Canadian bill was put forward by liberal lawyer Irwin Cotler, a long-time champion of human rights. The bill points out that Russia has signed several international conventions against torture, which were apparently violated in the case. It also says the Russian government "promotes a pervasive culture of corruption."

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not speak on the matter Monday, and an e-mailed request for comment went unanswered.

A Magnitsky-related blacklist was discussed by the human rights subcommittee of the Canadian legislature last November, but no legal move followed at the time. Several European countries are currently considering similar bans.

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