Medvedev Calls Magnitsky Act ‘Huge Mistake’ by US

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – Linking the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment with the so-called “Magnitsky Act” is a huge mistake by US lawmakers and will result in a reaction from Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

“We welcome the fact that the US Congress is finally getting rid of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which is a relic of the past. But we [Russia] absolutely do not like the fact that it is linked to another draft law,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily.

Earlier in the month, the US House of Representatives voted to approve a bill simultaneously repealing the Jackson-Vanik restrictions on trade with Russia dating back to 1974 and imposing new rules under the “Magnitsky Act,” aimed at punishing Russian officials deemed to have violated human rights.

“It is totally unacceptable for one country to dictate its will to another country. This is a huge mistake by American lawmakers, as well as by the whole US establishment,” the Russian premier said.

The US Senate is expected to approve its own version of the bill before it is sent to President Barack Obama for signing. Obama has opposed linking the Magnitsky Act to normalizing trade ties with Russia, but is expected to sign the legislation into law.

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.

The U.S. State Department imposed 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.


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