Russia to ban U.S. rights violators

Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:28 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Americans accused of violating human rights will be prohibited from entering Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The ban is Russia's response to U.S. congressional passage of the Magnitsky Act that would allow U.S. sanctions against Russians accused of violating human rights, RIA Novosti reported.

"I have confirmed that we [Russia] will also close entry to Americans who are really guilty of violating human rights," Lavrov said.

The U.S. bill, which goes to President Obama for consideration, specifically targets Russian officials Washington believes were responsible in the 2009 death of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky but extends to other accused rights violators in Russia.

The Magnitsky Act was part of legislation that would grant permanent normal trade status to Russia, necessary for U.S. businesses to benefit from lower tariffs after Russia joined the World Trade Organization during the summer.

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