Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

PHR Applauds US House Approval of Magnitsky Act

Cambridge, MA - 11/16/2012

PHR applauds today’s vote by the US House of Representatives to pass legislation that would place sanctions on Russians implicated in the torture and death three years ago of a Russian anti-corruption lawyer.

The Magnitsky Act would require the US to place travel and financial restrictions on specific Russian officials associated with the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered and made public a $230 million fraud involving tax refunds.

“Mr. Magnitsky’s death in a Russian prison was almost certainly the result of torture and deliberate medical neglect,” said Susannah Sirkin, deputy director of PHR. “Three years later, Russia has failed to take significant action to identify and prosecute those responsible — another instance in a consistent pattern of impunity for officials who engage in torture and other human rights abuses. Today’s House vote is a welcome step toward providing Mr. Magnitsky’s family with some measure of justice, and we look forward to seeing the bill become law.”

The Magnitsky Act was attached to a bill granting Russia normal trade status with the US — a development long sought by Russia. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Magnitsky Act last summer, but the current legislation must still be passed by the Senate.

Last year, after conducting an independent medical investigation of Magnitsky’s death, PHR concluded that he had suffered from calculated and deliberate neglect and inhumane treatment in prison that ultimately led to his death.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

PHR News