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U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 18 For Rights Abuses in Russia

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(Tops with 7 new grafs after list released; new head; fixes typo graf 9)

The United States has imposed sanctions on 18 people for human rights abuses, in accordance with a law enacted in December to punish Russian officials involved the imprisonment and death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The 18 people named are now subject to visa bans and asset freezes.

Most of them are Russian officials accused of involvement in the Magnitsky case. They include a former Moscow police investigator (Pavel Karpov), the former head of the prison in the Russian capital where Magnitsky died (Dmitry Komnov), three judges, and officials with the Investigative Committee and Prosecutor General's Office.

Contrary to what some observers had expected, top officials like Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin were not included on the list.

While most of the 18 people on the list are Russians, it also includes citizens of Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

The list also includes two officials from Chechnya, a republic in Russia's North Caucasus region. One of them (Lecha Bogatirov) has been accused of assassinating an opponent of Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's pro-Moscow president, in January 2009.

The other (Kazbek Dukuzov) was accused of involvement in the 2004 murder in Moscow of American journalist Paul Klebnikov.



In response to the Magnitsky Act, Russia's parliament last December passed two bills that President Vladimir Putin signed into law.

One bars Americans from adopting Russian children, while the other lists sanctions to be taken against those who have violated the human rights of Russian citizens.

In addition, Russia has already denied visas to U.S. officials it says violated human rights more broadly, including the rights of prisoners held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On Monday, Vyacheslav Nikonov, a first deputy chairman of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, told VOA's Russian service that the same number of people on the Magnitsky list will be put on the so-called "Guantanamo list."

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Friday said Washington would continue to work with Russia despite disagreement over the list.



"We have our differences with Russia. We make them clear. Human rights is an issue that we have disagreements with them on at times and, you know, we are very frank and candid about that. And we will engage with the Russians on those issues as well as the others that we have, some of which allow for opportunities of cooperation that are important for the national security interests of the United States as well as for the security, in the case of North Korea, of that region of the world."



Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who was arrested after exposing a state embezzlement scheme. He died in prison in 2009 after being beaten and denied medical treatment.

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