Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow jail in November 2009 at the hands of the Russian state. It was a truly heinous crime and a horrific example of state-sponsored Human Rights abuses within a corrupt and totalitarian regime. Sergei’s death is made even more tragic by the fact that he was simply a lawyer fighting for his client. He was not the perpetrator of an alleged offence; he was a valiant local lawyer fighting for a client who had been a victim of the state sponsored corruption and theft.
The passing of the Magnitsky Act by the US Congress in 2012, was followed by its adoption in the European Union; other strong democracies soon followed. Initially, it could only be applied to Russia, however, in 2020, it was sensibly expanded to include all Human Rights abusers, wherever they reside in the world.
Magnitsky enables Detained International to apply for the ceasing of assets that come under the jurisdiction of the US, the EU and other countries that have adopted the Magnitsky Act. The perpetrators of Human Rights abuses, all persons culpable; individual persons, police officers, government employees, and the rulers of the state are now vulnerable to us.
Human Rights abusers may sit in ivory towers within their borders, protected by sovereignty. However, they will not be welcome in countries that have adopted the Magnitsky Act as law. Assets within those countries will be forfeit to seizure, they will lose the freedom to conduct international business and transfer assets. Their worlds will become small and restricted, they will be persona non-grata in any civilised country, and no longer enjoy the freedoms we do.