26/7 Tass 180
WASHINGTON, July 26 (Itar-Tass) —— The U.S. State Department has put Russian officials connected to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on a visa blacklist, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The list reportedly contains close to 60 names.
Moscow threatened to retaliate by curbing cooperation on Iran, North Korea, Libya and the transit of supplies to Afghanistan if the Senate passes a measure imposing even tougher sanctions for human rights abuses.
In comments on the Senate bill issued last week, the Obama administration revealed the threats of retaliation as well as, for the first time, its visa blacklist. “Secretary Hillary Clinton has taken steps to ban individuals associated with the wrongful death of Sergei Magnitsky from traveling to the United States,” the newspaper quoted the document as saying.
“Senior Russian government officials have warned us that they will respond asymmetrically if this legislation passes,” the document said. “Their argument is that we cannot expect them to be our partner in supporting sanctions against countries like Iran, North Korea, and Libya, and sanction them at the same time. Russian officials have said that other areas of bilateral cooperation, including on transit to Afghanistan, could be jeopardized if this legislation passes,” according to the document.
In Moscow the US embassy refused comment saying all queries should be referred to the Department of State.
Magnitsky, 38, worked for an American law firm in Moscow and advised Hermitage Capital investment company when he accused police and tax officials of a $230 million tax fraud. He was quickly arrested and himself charged with the crime. He died in pretrial detention in 2009 after being denied medical care for apparent pancreatitis. This month authorities said two prison doctors would be prosecuted for neglecting his state of health.