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Sergei Magnitsky

Volume 530: debated on Monday 27 June 2011

4. If she will assess the merits of excluding from entry to the UK those people who were involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. (61830)

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government remain very concerned by Mr Magnitsky’s death and are disappointed that the official investigation into the case announced by President Medvedev in November 2009 has still not been completed. I am due to meet the hon. Gentleman shortly to discuss this important issue, but the duty of confidentiality means that the Government are unable to discuss the details of individual immigration cases.

I am going to try to talk about individual cases anyway, I am afraid. There is no point in merely being disappointed. Sergei Magnitsky was working for a British organisation in Russia when he discovered a vast network of corruption. He was illegally arrested and murdered while in police custody. Many other countries are considering a ban: the United States of America, Poland, Canada, Holland, Germany, Estonia and the Czech Republic. Why cannot we ensure that those corrupt murderers do not come into this country?

The Government continue to raise our concerns and the hon. Gentleman is right to be concerned about the case. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary both discussed the case with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov when he last visited the UK in February 2011. I understand that the official Russian investigation is due to report in August. As I have said, we are disappointed that it has taken so long but no doubt the hon. Gentleman and I can discuss more of the details when we have our meeting in a few days’ time.

Does not the Minister understand that this man, who was a lawyer, was killed in jail by the Russian authorities? The case is similar to that of someone who was poisoned in this country, we believe, by someone who was subsequently elected as a Member of the Russian Parliament. Russia must understand that if it wants to be accepted as a modern state in the 21st century, this sort of gangsterism and state-murder will not be tolerated.

My hon. Friend expresses himself with great power and passion. It is important that all states around the world observe proper and civilised standards of behaviour and the British Government will certainly continue to impress that on Governments all around the world.