US Senators Press Pompeo, Mnuchin for Russia Human Rights Sanctions

This story originated in VOA’s Russian Service.
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of 11 U.S. senators is calling on the departments of State and Treasury to issue a new round of sanctions under the Magnitsky Act over Russia’s targeting of political dissidents within its own borders.The FILE – A protester holds a banner reading “Freedom to political prisoners!” during a rally in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 29, 2019.”Russia’s political prisoners included peaceful protesters, civil society activists, human rights advocates, journalists, Crimean Tatars, members of the ‘undesirable’ political organizations and adherents of prohibited religious groups,” the letter says. Some examples of particularly egregious cases are Alexei Pichugin, who has been imprisoned for 16 years over the ‘Yukos Affair,’ and Konstantin Kotov, who was sentenced earlier this month for participating in peaceful demonstrations in Moscow.”While some Russian government officials have already been targeted by U.S. sanctions for arbitrary incarcerations, the letter states, “many others — including Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, and Federal Penitentiary Service Director Gennady Kornienko — have not.”The bipartisan letter, signed by several Democratic and Republican senators, comes amid a series of anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow that have resulted in mass detentions and arrests of high-profile actors and activists that appear to be politically motivated. 

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