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Russia Warns Canada Against Enacting Bill To Punish Rights Violators

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland endorsed the Magnitsky legislation this week.

Russia has warned that it will retaliate over legislation moving through the Canadian Parliament to impose sanctions on people guilty of human rights violations in Russia and other countries.

Canada's Liberal government this week called for enactment of a bill allowing the seizure of assets of foreign officials involved in extrajudicial killings, torture, and other crimes against whistle-blowers or human rights activists.

The bill is almost certain to become law and was inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky, an anticorruption lawyer who died in 2009 after being severely beaten in a Russian jail.

"We deplore this unfriendly move by the Canadian government, which will surely damage our bilateral relations and will not be left unanswered," said Vasily Kultyshev, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Ottawa.

Russia's Foreign Ministry warned that Canada will be the "loser" if it enacts the legislation, and will miss out on business opportunities and joint "Arctic exploration" projects.

"Relations between our two countries that are already in a rather low phase will suffer a new, telling blow," the ministry said.

In 2012, the United States adopted a similar law, prompting Moscow to retaliate by barring Americans from adopting Russian children.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax