FOREIGN AFFAIRS – SERGEI MAGNITSKY – 11 January 2012

Dr Julian Lewis: There is nothing routine about a murder closely connected with a British enterprise. Although Mr Magnitsky was not a British citizen, this case really is on a par with the Litvinenko murder. The reason why these things keep happening is well known: these people are crossing the Russian state. If the Russian state does not want to be seen as a gangster, surely it should stop killing journalists, lawyers and dissidents.

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Henry Bellingham): My hon. Friend makes a powerful point in his own inimitable way. I would not want anyone to have the impression that I was describing this case as routine, because obviously it is not. What I said was that the Government have a policy of not commenting routinely on individual cases. Obviously, this is an incredibly serious case, and I take on board what he has said.

On visa action taken by other countries, we are aware of media reports that the US has imposed sanctions on implicated officials and added them to a visa application watch list. Although Bills have been introduced in the US Congress and some other countries' Parliaments, such as in the Netherlands and Canada, and motions have been passed in support of visa bans against Russian officials allegedly implicated in Mr Magnitsky's death, we are not aware that those states have taken such action.

What we ultimately want – as all Members will agree, I believe – is the Russian Government to take the initiative in ensuring that justice is achieved in this case and in putting in place measures to prevent further such cases occurring. To that end, we are urging the Russian Government to conduct a full and transparent investigation into Mr Magnitsky's death, and we continue to raise the case at the highest levels.]