Interpol snubs Russia on request to arrest human rights critic William Browder

MOSCOW — Interpol has refused a request from Russia to put William Browder, a U.S.-born investment banker who has organized a worldwide campaign to punish Russia for human rights abuses, on its arrest list. Browder was a major proponent of the U.S. Magnitsky law, which imposes visa and financial sanctions on Russians deemed to have violated human rights.

The law was passed in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital Fund, who died in detention in Moscow after he uncovered a $230 million tax fraud, implicated Russian tax and police officers and was charged by them with the crime instead. Russia has accused Browder of involvement in fraud, as well.

epa04176175 Shane Red Hawk of the Sicangu Lakota band of the Rosebud Sioux (L) and his daughter Tshina Red Hawk (R) wait for tribal leaders with the 'Cowboy and Indian Alliance' to begin a horseback ride in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline across from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, USA, 22 April 2014. The alliance of farmers, ranchers, and tribes has dubbed their week-long series of protests 'Reject and Protect.' EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

(Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA)

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In a statement posted on its Web site Friday evening, Interpol said the request to arrest Browder was politically motivated. On Saturday, Browder described the decision as a major humiliation for President Vladimir Putin.

“That an independent police organization would say the entire Magnitsky case is politically motivated is extremely significant,” he said in a telephone interview.

Alexei Pushkov, head of parliament’s international affairs decision, criticized the decision in comments to the Interfax news agency.

“Declaring a case political without a thorough investigation is a political position rather than an investigative body’s position,” he said Saturday.

 
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