Russia hits 18 US officials with tit-for-tat entry ban
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 13, 2013, 15:39
  
Moscow: Russia on Saturday published its own blacklist of US officials banned from entering the country in retaliation for Washington's move on Friday to name 18 Russians who allegedly committed human rights abuses.

"The war of lists is not our choice, but we cannot ignore outright blackmail," said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement, which includes a list of 18 US officials "implicated in human rights violations”.

The list released by the US Treasury Friday names 16 Russians allegedly linked to the death of jailed lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as two Chechens tied to other alleged rights abuses, all of whom are now barred from travelling to the US or holding assets there under the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Act.

The measure has infuriated Moscow, which had warned that it will retaliate with a similar measure. The Foreign Ministry on Saturday called the Magnitsky Act an "absurd" law that "intervenes in our domestic affairs" and "delivers a strong blow to bilateral relations."

"Unlike the American list, which is formed arbitrarily, our list primarily includes those who are implicated in legalisation of torture and perpetual detentions in Guantanamo prison, to the arrests and kidnapping of Russian citizens," the ministry said.

"It's time for Washington politicians to finally understand that there are no prospects in building relations with a country like Russia with the spirit of mentoring and undisguised dictating," it said.

The list names four people allegedly implicated in Guantanamo abuses, including David Spears Addington, who served as chief of staff under former vice president Dick Cheney.

Fourteen more people are named as having violated the rights of Russian citizens abroad, including the US district judge Jed Rakoff and several prosecutors from his district in the state of New York, as well as several Drug Enforcement Administration officers and FBI agent Gregory Coleman.

Sergei Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention in 2009 at the age of 37 after being arrested and charged by the very same officials he had accused of organising a $230-million fraud scheme.

The case has come to symbolise the Kremlin's failure to crack down on corruption and has prompted a crisis in US-Russia ties.

AFP


First Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013, 15:39


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