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Moscow Vows Retaliation Over Russian Lawyer Death Bill

  • VOA News

A November 2009 photo shows a portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail, held by his mother Nataliya Magnitskaya in Moscow.

A November 2009 photo shows a portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail, held by his mother Nataliya Magnitskaya in Moscow.

Russia has threatened to hit back at the United States over a proposed U.S. Senate bill that would penalize Russian officials for human rights violations.

The bill, approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, would ban travel visas and freeze the assets of anyone found to be a human rights abuser.

But it specifically targets Russian officials responsible for the imprisonment, alleged torture, and death of Sergei Magnitsky - the Russian lawyer jailed in 2008 after accusing top police officials of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian media that he is astonished that work on the Magnitsky legislation is continuing despite common sense and all the signals Moscow has sent on the counterproductive nature of such steps.

Ryabkov said there will be a "symmetrical response" as well as additional measures.

A House panel already passed a similar bill. The White House opposes the measure, saying it already has sanctions against Russians involved in Magnitsky's death.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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