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COPENHAGEN, 14 November 2014 – On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the death of Sergei Magnistky, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), has called for an end to impunity in Russia and greater attention to the persistent link between corruption and human rights transgressions across the OSCE area.

"The killing of whistleblowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on 16 November 2009 captured the attention of the world, but still, five years later, has not brought the change to his country that its citizens deserve. Let us mark this anniversary by remembering why Magnitsky's life was taken – that is, for speaking truth to power. Let us renew our call for an end to impunity in Russia, not only for the people who killed this true patriot, but for the systemic corruption, human rights transgressions and lack of rule of law that have led to his and other unacceptable deaths there," Santos said.

"We must also remember why Magnitsky's case continues to have meaning far beyond Russia: On an almost weekly basis we hear of instances across the OSCE area and in the wider world in which state authorities abuse their power to silence those who expose lapses in the rule of law. Lawlessness and corruption continue to erode human rights. I applaud the numerous countries that have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky's killing, but the OSCE and the international community must do more to demand adherence in Russia and beyond to the norms of a civilized and just world," Santos added.

At the 2012 Annual Session in Monaco, OSCE parliamentarians adopted a Resolution calling on all countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to impose visa sanctions and asset freezes on persons responsible for Sergei Magnitsky's detention, abuse and death. It also called on countries to take action against those responsible for "gross rights violations against people seeking to expose illegal activity by Russian officials."

The Resolution further urged OSCE participating States to strengthen legislation to protect whistleblowers, among other recommendations.

Sergei Magnitsky died in custody after discovering massive tax fraud committed by Russian government officials. He was arrested and persecuted by the same officials that he had implicated in the embezzlement of funds from the Russian Treasury. In prison he was repeatedly denied medical care and beaten before his death. Russia has dropped its investigation into the case and has prosecuted Magnitsky posthumously.