NEWSLINK: Russia warns U.S. over human rights bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Russia warns U.S. over human rights bill – Reuters – Thomas Grove – November 16, 2012 –

Reuters covers Russian attempts to pressure the u.S. Congress over human rights legislation before it, being addresses in connection with trade legislation:

Russia increased pressure on the U.S. Congress on Friday not to pass legislation that would punish Russian officials for human rights violations, warning Washington that it had prepared tough retaliatory measures.

Congress was due to vote on a bill named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky later on Friday, the third anniversary of his death in detention. The bill is designed to deny visas for officials involved in his imprisonment, abuse or death.

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“Of course there are (measures in place). We have discussed (them) at all stages of the debate over the so-called Magnitsky bill,” Interfax news agency quoted [Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei] Ryabkov as saying. “I can confirm that our response will be tough.”

He gave no details but Russian officials have indicated that Moscow would retaliate by imposing sanctions on U.S. officials
it accused of violating Russian citizens’ rights.

Sergei Magnitsky himself was a corporate lawyer jailed after he accused government officials of embezzling state funds, later dying in custody, with the Kremlin’s own human rights council suspecting that he was beaten to death:

Magnitsky was jailed in 2008 on suspicion of tax evasion and fraud, charges which colleagues say were fabricated by police investigators he had accused of stealing $230 million from the state through fraudulent tax refunds.

The Magnitsky case has become a symbol of corruption and the abuse of citizens who challenge the authorities in Russia, where the Kremlin’s own human rights council has said he was probably beaten to death.

U.S. Representative David Dreier, the Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee, said on Thursday that such action in a country “that claims to be a democracy … is horrendous and it is unacceptable.”

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