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Duma readying to finally pass anti-Magnitsky law

December 21, 2012, 10:34 UTC+3

The most sensitive issue is a ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens and denouncing the US-Russian agreement in this sphere

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MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament on Friday will consider in the third and final reading the draft law proposed in response to the adoption by the United States of the Magnitsky Act. It was initiated by State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and the leaders of all four Duma factions, later 381 MPs and 138 members of the Federation Council upper house joined the initiative.

The original version of the bill imposed visa and financial restrictions on persons who violate the rights of Russians in America, which later were extended to the citizens of those states, which “made decisions to ban the entry of citizens of the Russian Federation and to arrest their assets on the motive of Russians’ involvement in human rights violations.”

The most sensitive issue is a ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens and denouncing the US-Russian agreement in this sphere. This amendment was adopted in the second reading on the proposal of MPs Yekaterina Lakhova (United Russia) and Yelena Afanasyeva (LDPR). However, the RF Foreign Minister has opposed it, and there have been numerous street pickets against it. The issue has not been overlooked also at the big press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin. A journalist of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper said that more than 100 thousand Russians signed a petition against the ban on the adoptions by Americans. “I think this (appeal) should be considered by the State Duma,” the head of state said in response.

Among other response measures the lawmakers introduced a temporary ban on the activities of NGOs engaged in political activity in Russia with US grants. However, these non-profit organizations still have a chance to resume their activities in Russia, in case of their refusal from funding received from the United States.

The MPs have kept the rules to prohibit the entry into Russia for US citizens who “have committed crimes against Russian citizens living abroad, or have been involved in such an act; the persons vested with state authority who contributed by their actions or inaction to exoneration of those who committed crimes against the citizens of the Russian Federation; those involved in the abduction and unlawful deprivation of liberty of Russian citizens; those who passed unfounded and unjust sentences on Russian citizens; persons who have been involved in illegal judicial persecution of citizens of the Russian Federation.”

At the same time the bill envisages the arrest in Russia of financial assets of and an embargo on any real estate transactions for US citizens, declared persona non grata in Russia. For them the bill introduces a ban on the disposal of property in the territory of the Russian Federation, the bill also suspends the activities of legal entities controlled by such persons and their powers in the boards of directors or other management bodies, registered in Russia.

The list of US citizens who are not allowed to enter the territory of the Russian Federation will be kept and changed by the authorized federal body of executive authority – the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). In addition, such “blacklists” can also be proposed by members of the Federal Assembly of Russia, RF political parties, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation. It is planned that the RF foreign minister will report to the houses of the Federal Assembly at least once a year on the implementation of the law.

Earlier, MPs from different factions have proposed to call the Russian response to the US act “the Dima Yakovlev law” in memory of a two-year old Russian boy who died in the United States after his adoptive American father had locked him in a car in the full blaze of the sun. First deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Nikonov (United Russia) explained that it is clear who will be included in Russia’s blacklist – the “killers of Russian children and those who allowed them to avoid responsibility, security officers who abducted Russian citizens abroad, and the judges, who pass on them (Russians) unimaginable prison terms, the heads of the Guantanamo prison, where people are tortured.”

The law after its approval will come into force on January 1, 2013.

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