Lawmakers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have called for sanctions against Russians implicated in the jail death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, even as one of the key suspects witnessed the vote in person.
"The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly calls on national parliaments to take action to impose visa sanctions and freezes on persons responsible for the false arrest, torture, denial of medical care and death of Sergei Magnitsky," says the resolution approved Sunday.
Magnitsky was jailed in late 2008 after accusing tax and police officials of embezzling a $230 million tax refund owed to Hermitage Capital. He died in jail in November 2009 shortly after being badly beaten by prison guards, according to an independent Kremlin human rights council investigation.
Last month, Hermitage Capital released a video accusing Interior Ministry investigators Pavel Karpov and Artyom Kuznetsov, who arrested Magnitsky, of having ties to an organized crime syndicate supposedly led by Dmitry Klyuyev, former owner of the Universal Savings Bank.
Klyuyev and an associate attended the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's annual meeting, held in Monaco on Sunday.
Two members of the Russian delegation gave their badges to the pair and escorted them to the OSCE Convention Center at the Grimaldi Forum, a Hermitage representative said in a statement. The session was open to the public.
One of the forum delegation members who assisted Klyuyev and Pavlov in Monaco was State Duma Deputy Ilya Kostunov of the United Russia party, a former activist in the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement, Hermitage said, which provided photos and video of Klyuyev at the session.
Klyuyev denied any ties with Magnitsky in an interview published Monday in Vedomosti. He said the affair was a publicity ploy by Hermitage Capital founder William Browder.
Browder was denied entry into Russia as a security threat in 2005 and currently lives in Britain.
"There was absolutely no connection between me and Magnitsky," Klyuyev said. "When he was alive, Magnitsky was a bookkeeper and a suspect, while after his death he became an attorney and an anti-corruption activist."
Meanwhile, Russia's envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, urged governments against "politicizing the situation" with sanctions, RIA-Novosti reported. He added cryptically that a meeting of "high-ranking officials" has been scheduled to "clear up all the remaining questions." He gave no date for the meeting.