Lawmakers demand Obama hit Russia for human rights abuses

A Republican and Democrat in the House are calling on President Obama to sanction more Russian officials for human rights abuses.

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) wrote a letter to Obama saying he needs to add more Russian officials to the Magnitsky list, a roster of Russian officials cited for human rights abuses who cannot be given a U.S. entry visa and cannot access the U.S. financial system.

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That law was signed in late 2012, but the letter notes that only 18 low-level Russian officials are on the list.

"We urge you to use your authority to expand the list of sanctioned individuals under the Magnitsky Act to include senior human rights violates in President [Vladimir] Putin's government," the letter says. "Such a move would send a clear message that the United States will not stand for the Kremlin's abuse of power — whether internally or externally — and that we are serious about defending our values."

Ros-Lehtinen and McGovern said they were resending a list of Russians to add; Obama has not added any of the names that members submitted nearly a year ago.

The Magnitsky list is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a tax lawyer who died in 2009 after allegedly being tortured by Russian officials.

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