Russia confirms existence of 'Guantanamo List' against US

Moscow, Jan 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has confirmed the existence of a "Guantanamo List", which includes Americans on visa restrictions for violating human rights of Russian citizens in the US and in zones under US jurisdiction like Guantanamo Bay.

"In our relations with the US, we have so-called 'blacklists'. The makeup of these lists, as well as the criteria on which they are based, is not a matter of general discussion," said the foreign ministry's deputy head Sergei Ryabkov.

The list is reportedly a retaliatory measure for the US' Magnitsky Act, introducing a blacklist of Russian officials allegedly linked to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at a Russian prison in 2009. Moscow immediately promised to retaliate for the measure.

Russia had previously blacklisted only 11 Americans.

"As for the 'Guantanamo List', some information that is now publicly available is not far from the truth."

"The contents of these lists may change with time," Ryabkov said.

Duma Foreign Affairs Committee representative Alexei Pushkov said the list had been extended to include 60 people.

Ryabkov said Russia had determined several occasions on which "the US government and legal establishments had raced to unjustifiable conclusions, extending US jurisdiction to the territory of third states", and also violated human rights, including those of Russian citizens in the US.

"This cannot be left without a response. One of the forms of this response is the restriction of entry to Russia for those people who participate in these violations," he said.

Russia had been forced to retaliate with symmetrical measures, Ryabkov said.

"An answer with symmetrical measures is not our choice," he said.

"We simply have to act in such a way. But responsibility for this lies with the United States," he added.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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