Canada backs idea of Russia sanctions over human rights abuses

Canada backs idea of Russia sanctions over human rights abuses

Canada backs imposing sanctions on officials from Russia and other nations who are deemed guilty of human rights violations, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday, pressuring Moscow over the case of a dead whistleblower.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland gestures as she arrives to pose for a family photo during a G7 for foreign ministers in Lucca, Italy April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi

OTTAWA: Canada backs imposing sanctions on officials from Russia and other nations who are deemed guilty of human rights violations, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday, pressuring Moscow over the high-profile case of a dead whistleblower.

Freeland told Parliament that Canada's Liberal government would support draft legislation inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky, an anti-corruption lawyer who died in 2009 after a year in a Russian jail.

The proposed Sergei Magnitsky Law would allow Ottawa to seize the assets and property of foreign officials. The bill, proposed by an opposition legislator, has widespread backing and is certain to become law.

"Our government supports expanding the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted ... to include cases of gross violations of human rights and foreign corruption," said Freeland, specifically citing strong global interest in the Magnitsky case.

In 2012, the United States adopted a law freezing any U.S. assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors said to have been involved in Magnitsky's detention. In retaliation, Moscow barred Americans from adopting Russian children.

The Canadian announcement is set to chill ties further with Moscow, which Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have repeatedly condemned over the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.

Representatives at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: Reuters