25 October 2011

Russian visa blacklist for US officials announced

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The Russian Federation has indicated it will introduce a US visa blacklist for officials it considers guilty of human rights crimes, amid a diplomatic row over the death of a Russian national.

The Russian Federation has indicated it will introduce a US visa blacklist for officials it considers guilty of human rights crimes, amid a diplomatic row over the death of a Russian national.

The latest event in the long-running diplomatic misunderstanding between the US and Russia over the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 will see high-ranking US officials banned from enterring Russia or obtaining a Russian visa.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday indicating that Russia will introduce the blacklist in response to a similar banning of Russian officials allegedly linked to the death of Magnitsky from obtaining American visas. 

"Relying on the principle of reciprocity, a list of US nationals whose stay in Russia is deemed undesirable has been put together," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

Mr Lukashevich said individuals on the list are implicated in US-perpetrated human rights abuses such as civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and indefinite detention of inmates in the Guantanamo Bay facility in cuba.

The statement warns that additions to the list may be forthcoming:

"A line has not been drawn -- if the US side continues on its path of visa confrontation we will be forced to expand that list".

 The announcement comes as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tours former Soviet Central Asian republics.


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