Moscow bans five former US officials over Magnitsky sanction

Russian Foreign Ministry blacklists five former US officials in response Washington’s ban on five Russians

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov adjusts his headphones during a joint press conference with his Emirati counterpart following a meeting on February 2, 2016.

Russia on Tuesday put a travel ban on five former American officials over alleged right abuses.

Russia’s counter-ban came after the US on Monday blacklisted four Russians and a Ukrainian under the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act is a bill passed by the US Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in November-December 2012 intended to punish Russian officials deemed responsible for the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a prison in Moscow in 2009.

In response to US blacklisting, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that it has banned entry to five former American officials including former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez.

"We must remember that it was the United States that officially legalised and actively used medieval torture in the beginning of the 21st century," the ministry said in a statement.

Former US undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith, CIA lawyer John Rizzo, former assistant attorney general Jay Scott Bybee and former general counsel of the department of defense William James Haynes II were also blacklisted.

The ministry said that the five Americans were barred in "response to Washington’s anti-Russian policy."

It also criticised "current American problems like police violence with racial undertones and a penitentiary system that is far from perfect."

Magnitsky was arrested in 2009 after taking part in both official and unofficial inquiries into allegations of fraud, theft and human rights violations which brought international attention on Russia.

Russia has denied allegations that Magnitsky's death was intended to cover-up corruption.

TRTWorld and agencies