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European Parliament Backs EU-Wide 'Magnitsky List'

The European Parliament has passed a resolution recommending an EU-wide travel ban and asset freeze for officials tied to the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The resolution, passed Wednesday, demanded that Russia's Investigative Committee pursue immediate charges against those involved in Magnitsky's 2009 death and that "further inaction" would result in calls to the European Union's executive committee to create a blacklist.

The parliament said there was ample "evidence that Sergei Magnitsky's arrest was unlawful and that his detention was marked by beatings and torture aimed at extracting a confession of guilt."

U.S. authorities have created a similar "Magnitsky List," naming dozens of Russian officials connected to the case who are barred from traveling to the United States. The Canadian Parliament has also considered such a list.

Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 on tax evasion charges after he had accused officials of stealing $230 million from the state budget. He died in pretrial detention a year later.

A report by Hermitage Capital published in November accused officials of leaving the 37-year-old lawyer to die on a cell floor after he suffered brain trauma in a beating by prison guards.

Only two prison doctors have been charged in connection with his death, and several police officials whom Magnitsky accused of involvement in the $230 million theft and who facilitated his arrest — have received promotions.

The Interior Ministry declared last week that Magnitsky died from heart failure.

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