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Moscow to Continue 'Magnitsky Work' with U.S.

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky
file photo
MOSCOW, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will continue working with the United States to clarify its position on a range of thorny issues including the so-called Magnitsky affair, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday, following a visit last week to the U.S. by leading Russian lawmakers to give their account of the issue. U.S. Capitol at Dusk
file photo
"Did we succeed in breaking the prevalent mood in the American Congress? I think we did generate some doubts about the indisputability of the line that is being pursued [in the U.S.], which is very important," he said.

"We will continue this effort: Water wears down stone."

The core of the Russian position is that "there is no room for anti-Russian sanctions in Russia-U.S. relations," he said.

Russia warned last week it is ready to retaliate over the so-called Magnitsky Act if it is adopted by the United States.

The Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, with amendments, seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the torture and death of a 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.

A group of Russian senators recently visited the United States and presented previously unpublished documents to their U.S. counterparts which they claim prove the involvement of the late lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in tax fraud.

The Magnitsky bill has so far been cleared by foreign relations committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

However, the U.S. National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) has urged Congress to oppose the legislation as it would most likely hurt Russia - U.S. trade and badly damage ties.

The bill has to be passed by the Congress and signed by the U.S. president to come into force.

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 almost a year later in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

A probe into his death revealed that the lawyer, who was suffering from untreated pancreatitis and a heart condition, and did not receive proper medical treatment. Rights activists pointed to multiple violations of the lawyer's rights during his arrest and detention, including signs that he was beaten by prison guards hours before his death.

The U.S. State Department issued visa bans on several dozen Russian officials in connection to the Magnitsky case in July 2011. In response, Russia has imposed travel bans on several U.S. officials.

The Magnitsky case, along with the Jackson-Vanik amendment and the rift over the Syrian crisis, are major stumbling blocks in the "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations.

Keywords: Russia, Assassinations, Beatings, Prison Deaths - U.S.-Russian Relations -Russian News - Russia

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