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Federation Council to approve response to Magnitsky Act before yearend

December 10, 2012, 19:17 UTC+3

Russia’s response to the Magnitsky Act can be harsh and quite sensitive for the United States

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MOSCOW, December 10 (Itar-Tass) —— The Federation Council will approve a Russian legislative response to the Magnitsky Act after it has been passed by the State Duma.

The Federation Council intends to do so before the end of the year, the upper house’s Deputy Chairman Alexander Torshin said on Monday, December 10.

“I am convinced [that we will approve it in December],” Torshin said.

“Americans consolidated us, whether they like it or not, as their [Magnitsky] Act is largely unfair,” he said.

According to Torshin, the Federation Council’s relevant Committee on Constitutional Legislation will most likely discuss the concept of the Russian draft law on Thursday, December 13 (before the Duma passes the law in the first reading scheduled for December 14) in order “to be prepared for the discussion and understand whether amendments are being prepared or not”.

The Federation Council is scheduled to meet for this year’s last plenary sessions on December 19 and 26.

Russia’s response to the Magnitsky Act can be harsh and quite sensitive for the United States, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said earlier.

“In response to the so-called tough version of the Magnitsky Act adopted by the U.S. Senate, Russia can reply at the legislative level by adopting a relevant law,” he said.

This can be done either by amending the existing Law “On the Rules of Entering and Exiting the Russian Federation” that imposes entry restrictions for foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who have violated the rights of Russian citizens abroad. “These amendments were be stated in June of last year and submitted by representatives of all factions. They are now being studied by the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development,” the MP said.

Pushkov noted that “the amendments allow the authorities to block such persons’ accounts in Russian banks and their foreign branches and impose an embargo on their transactions with real estate and investments”.

Another option would be expanding the application of this law to those U.S. citizens who participated in mass and registered violations of human rights outside the U.S., specifically in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries.

“We know that military operations in these countries involved actions that led to mass casualties among civilians. Registered violations of human rights reported by international human rights organisations also occurred at the U.S. base in Guantanamo (Cuba) and in secret CIA prisons in Europe and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at the military base in Baghram in Afghanistan and involved torture which is prohibited by international conventions and American laws. The practice of U.S. security services’ secret prisons in other countries was condemned by many states and became the subject of a special investigation by the PACE,” Pushkov said.

He stressed that Moscow has a harsh version of a reply to the Magnitsky Act and this option has been supported by a number of Russian lawmakers. “I would like to recall Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s statement that Russia may not necessarily limit itself to such a legislative response and may reply asymmetrically, that is, take steps in other areas that may be sensitive for the U.S.,” Pushkov said.


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