Russia bans 18 officials in U.S. over Magnitsky list
MOSCOW — As promised, Russia on Saturday released the names of American officials now banned from the country in retaliation for the Magnitsky list made public in Washington on Friday.
The United States imposed visa and banking sanctions on 18 Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. Russia responded by naming 18 Americans it accuses of human rights violations in the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba, or of having had a role in the detention of Russian citizens in third countries.
That second category primarily concerns the convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and then turned over to U.S. authorities.
The Russian government aimed its list at a much higher level than the Magnitsky list, which primarily covers midlevel tax, police, jail and court officials.
On the Russian list are David Addington, who was Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff; John Yoo, assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice from 2001-03 and the author of memos backing torture of suspects; Jed Rakoff, U.S. District judge for the Southern District of New York; Preetinder Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York; as well as lower officials and two former Guantanamo commanders.
“We should note particularly that, unlike the American list compiled arbitrarily, our list features primarily those who took part in legalizing torture and the indefinite detention of prisoners in the Guantanamo special prison camp, and those involved in the abduction and removal to other countries of Russian citizens and in threats to their lives and health,” Alexander Lukashevich, the foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement on the ministry website.
“This war of lists was not our decision, but we do not have the right to ignore such open blackmail,” Lukashevich said. “It is time for the politicians in Washington to finally realize that it is fruitless to base a relationship with a country such as Russia in the spirit of mentorship and overt dictation.”