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From the U.K., calls for transparency in visa bans

Members of the U.K. parliament are trying to force the government there to publicly disclose the names of human rights abusers who have been denied entry into the country.

According to a news release from the Hermitage Fund, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee recommended disclosure of visa bans after hearing evidence from Amnesty International, Fair Trials International, Hermitage Capital, Human Rights Watch, REDRESS, and others.

The FCPA Blog has also argued that bribe takers should be named in FCPA enforcement actions, and that the names of foreign kleptocrats banned from the U.S. should be disclosed.

A spokesman for Hermitage, whose Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow jail in 2009, said: ‘Making the visa ban list public is the first step towards accountability for their actions and we are pleased to see the recommendations of the U.K. Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee calling on the British Government to do this.’

Magnitsky was detained while investigating the $230 million looting of a Hermitage investment fund by police officials, bankers, judges and lawyers. He was held for a year without trial before his death in prison.
Hermitage said the key recommendation of the U.K. Foreign Affairs Committee states:

[W]e believe that, when used sparingly, publicizing the names of those denied entry on human rights grounds could be a valuable tool in drawing attention to the U.K.’s determination to uphold high standards of human rights, and we recommend that the Government make use of it.’

In March, British MPs voted unanimously for the government to impose visa sanctions and asset freezes on Russian government officials implicated in Magnitsky’s jailing and death.

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