MOSCOW, December 21 - RAPSI. Russia’s doppelganger version of the Magnitsky List may include Americans suspected of involvement in the arrests and detentions – or, in the words of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in the “kidnapping” – of arms dealer Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, Lavrov told Euronews TV during an interview.
On December 6, the U.S. Senate approved the Magnitsky Act, stipulating visa sanctions for Russians who are believed by the senate members to have been involved in human rights violations. The law evoked severe criticism from the State Duma.
The bill was introduced by a group of US senators last spring. The suggestion was that there should be a blacklist of Russian officials allegedly linked to the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in November 2009, in exchange for the cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
Magnitsky was arrested on tax evasion charges in November 2008, just days after accusing police investigators in a $230 million tax refund fraud, and died after almost a year in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow.
The foreign minister believes that the step taken by the United States was unnecessary and counterproductive, and in fact there is nothing but the desire to seek truth in the case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky behind the show arranged at the United States Capitol following the current situation.
He vowed earlier to respond to the Magnitsky Act by banning entry into Russia of Americans believed to have violated human rights.
"Individuals, who were involved in the illegal kidnapping of Russian citizens, including Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko in Thailand and Liberia, in violation of the countries' laws, rights of Russians who were sentenced to major prison terms only for intentions, have been proposed to be included in the list. We compare this with sentences, passed to murderers of our children: for real crimes individuals get suspended sentences and get released right in the courtroom," he said.
Speaking to recent legislative initiatives taken by the State Duma in response to the Manitsky Act – such as consideration of a ban on the adoption of Russian children by American families – the minister said that the response of Russians MPs is absolutely natural.
"They respond to specific facts which have already been closed by US justice. For instance, acquittals or suspended sentences to U.S. citizens, who killed, raped and tortured adopted children from Russia, and who nonetheless were released right in courtrooms," Lavrov said.
What Lavrov refers to as kidnapping with regard to Bout and Yaroshenko is actually permitted under US law, which provides for a liberal interpretation of extraterritorial jurisdiction.