US extends Magnitsky Act globally
US President Barack Obama signed annual defense policy bill to set 2017 budget for the Department of Defense. Among other things, the bill allows to impose sanctions against citizens of other countries, who, according to Washington, are engaged in incorruption or human rights violations.
The bill means the Magnitsky Act, which was passed by the US Congress and signed by Obama in December 2012, to be applied worldwide. The law allows to impose sanctions on Russian officials Washington deems engaged in human rights violations.
It was originally applied only to the Russian citizens. Yet in early 2015, Senator Ben Cardin introduced amendments to the bill to allow the US President to impose sanctions on citizens of other countries. Those who are under the sanctions become unable to receive American visa, their property and bank accounts in the US become frozen.
The bill to be valid for 6 years, yet the restrictions can be terminated by the US President only. In his written statement, Obama said it is not necessarily he would apply this sanctions mechanism. "I intend to act (in this case) at my own discretion", - said the President.
In addition, he said he is strictly opposed to the Congress attempts to preserve Guantanamo prison in Cuba, where persons detained during anti-terrorist operations serve their terms. "Our efforts to transfer additional detainees will continue until the last day,” - he said. In this regard, he stressed since his arrival in the White House in 2009, more than 175 prisoners have been sent abroad from the US Guantanamo prison. Currently, 59 inmates are staying there, Obama added.
Barack Obama’s official powers will expire on January 20. Democrat Obama to be replaced by Republican Donald Trump in the White House.
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