The United States government has denied travel privileges to a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, causing Senators from both parties to demand an immediate review.
“The Department of Homeland Security should expedite an immediate review of the decision to revoke Mr. Browder’s visa,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said in a statement on Monday.
Revocation of Bill Browder’s visa occurred late last week after Moscow found a loophole to place him on Interpol’s most wanted list.
Browder has been travelling the world recruiting countries to adopt the Magnitsky Act, which empowers governments to freeze the assets of Russian figures linked to human rights violations. Last week, Canada joined the U.S., Britain, and Estonia to become the fourth country to pass a version of the Magnitsky Act.
The senators both agreed that it “would be unfortunate if the U.S. decided to bar him based on a decision by those same Russian officials who have been targeted by this important legislation.”
Browder’s support for the Magnitsky Act, named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who was jailed and then killed after discovering a tax fraud scheme, has made him an enemy of Moscow and Vladimir Putin.
Russia has petitioned to get Interpol to secure Browder’s arrest on four separate occasions , with each request being denied. Now, Russia is seeking Browder’s arrest on charges of tax evasion and murder.
Browder said he was notified late last week that the Department of Homeland Security had revoked his travel status.
“I discovered that my Global Entry status had been revoked. We then checked into a flight to Newark and the airline wouldn’t let me check in, wouldn’t let me board because of the visa issue. At that point, I then contact my contacts in law enforcement and it was confirmed to me that Russia had added me using the Interpol diffusion system on the 17th of October.”