WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 60 Russianslinked to the death of an anti-corruption lawyer would bebarred from the United States and its financial markets under abill introduced in Congress Wednesday.
The measure says that sanctions would be lifted only afterRussia brings to justice those responsible for the 2009 deathof Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for what was once Russia's topequity fund, Hermitage.
But the bill, introduced by Senator Benjamin Cardin andRepresentative James McGovern, both Democrats, faces a steepclimb to get passed before Congress completes its work for theyear.
Human rights activists charge that Russian authoritiessubjected Magnitsky to conditions amounting to torture in afailed bid to force him to testify in their favor in a battlewith Hermitage over a $234 million tax fraud scheme.
Magnitsky died after being repeatedly denied medicaltreatment in pre-trial detention. He had accused Russianofficials of stealing the millions of tax dollars paid by hisclient.
A Democratic aide said the bill has drawn bipartisaninterest and lawmakers might get to it when they return toWashington after the Nov. 2 congressional election for what isexpected to be a final few weeks of work.
"Nearly a year after Sergei's death, the leading figures inthis scheme remain in power in Russia," said Cardin, who alsochairs the human rights monitoring U.S. Helsinki Commission, anindependent federal agency.
"If we expect any measure of justice in this case, we mustact in the United States," said Cardin. "At the least, we canand should block these corrupt individuals from traveling andinvesting their ill-gotten money in our country." (Editing by Xavier Briand)