This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions.
On 9 December 2019, EU foreign ministers reflected on how to improve the EU toolbox on human rights, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced the launch of preparatory work on a possible horizontal sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations. In a statement, the EU's High Representative said: "We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States". He added that the sanctions would give the EU “much more strength and much more capacity to act” and would be “a tangible step reaffirming the EU’s global lead on human rights.”
In practice, Magnitsky sanctions target individuals around the world responsible for human rights violations or acts of significant corruption by imposing travel bans and freezes on their financial assets. The original Magnitsky Act was passed in the United States in 2012 to punish Russian nationals involved in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky as well as other human rights violations, and was followed in 2017 by the Global Magnitsky Act, which extends to individuals anywhere in the world. Similar legislation has also been passed in the UK, Canada, and the Baltic States.
Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old Russian lawyer and auditor who was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die in a Russian prison in 2009. He had uncovered a massive fraud scheme to the tune of $230 million that implicated several high-level state officials. A Russian investigation concluded that Magnitsky had died of natural causes; the case was then closed and Magnitsky was posthumously convicted of tax evasion. In August 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian authorities “had deprived Sergei Magnitskiy of important medical care and had failed to comply with their duty to protect his life.” The judges unanimously concluded that Magnitsky's treatment in detention violated his human rights, the right to live, right to liberty and security, and right to freedom from torture.
For more disinformation cases on Magnitsky, see here.
The trope of "lost sovereignty" is one of the Kremlin's most enduring disinformation narratives to demonise the supposedly "evil Western powers".