Russian sanctions author joins Magnitsky family

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By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The author of sanctions against Russians over human rights violations says there would be no need for the punishment if Russia focused on holding those accountable for the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland made the comments on Thursday at a Capitol Hill news conference in which he was joined by Magnitsky's mother, wife and young son.

The Russian lawyer was arrested in 2008 for tax evasion after accusing Russian police officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates. He died in prison the next year, allegedly after being beaten and denied medical treatment.

Last week, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against 18 Russians as a result of the law by Cardin and other lawmakers.

Cardin said Magnitsky is an inspiration to human rights activists worldwide.

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