Russia delivers entry-ban list in response to Magnitsky law

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On Monday, June 18, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted to the Latvian Embassy in Moscow a list of Latvian citizens for whom entry bans to the Russian Federation have been confirmed, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said June 19.

"Persons included in the list will be personally informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the entry ban," the ministry said, adding that it would not itself publish the names on the list.

However, there is nothing preventing those named from going public themselves, which is what MP Rihards Kols (National Alliance) did. Kols was the main sponsor of the bill as it passed through Saeima.

Also on the list is Unity party parliamentary leader Hosam Abu Meri.

But it wasn't just politicians on the Russian list with journalist Pauls Raudseps also saying he had been informed of his inclusion.

The submission of such a list is a response by the Russian Foreign Ministry to the decision of the Saeima of 8 February this year to introduce a "Magnitsky Law" in Latvia which imposes sanctions on persons suspected of involvement in the death in custody of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was attempting to expose a huge fraud.

"The Latvian Foreign Ministry is not surprised at the submission of such a list, and believes that such a step is not aimed at improving bilateral relations," the ministry noted.

Latvia's "Magnitsky list", which is similar to those in force in several other countries, is understood to contain 49 persons linked to the Magnitsky scandal. This year, on February 22, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs made a decision to declare persons named on the list as person non grata in Latvia.

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