13 Apr 2013

US names alleged Russian human rights abusers

9:18 pm on 13 April 2013

The United States has published a list of 18 alleged human rights abusers from Russia and neighbouring states who now face sanctions agreed by the US Congress in December.

It holds 16 of them responsible for the death in custody of the human rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Mr Magnitsky died awaiting trial on tax evasion charges after accusing senior officials of embezzlement.

White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, said those involved in the lawyer's death needed to be punished.

Those named on the list will be subject to visa bans and asset freezes in the United States under a law passed by Congress last year.

One American lawmaker said the list was "timid" with "significant omissions," while a senior Russian lawmaker said he thought President Barack Obama had done the minimum possible under the law so as not to worsen ties with Moscow.

Relations between the two countries are strained by what critics say is a crackdown on dissent in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, and disputes over security issues such as the war in Syria, which is a Russian ally.

Russia says it will publish a list of Americans that it accuses of human rights violations.