Russia bans entry to 12 Americans after U.S. extends sanctions list

Moscow has imposed a ban on entry to Russia for 12 more U.S. nationals in retaliation for the inclusion of an extra 12 people in the United States' anti-Russian sanctions list.

Moscow has imposed a ban on entry to Russia for 12 more U.S. nationals in retaliation for the inclusion of an extra 12 people in the United States' anti-Russian sanctions list.

The 12 names - the list appeared on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Saturday - are those of Americans who were entangled in scandals over the torture of inmates at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The list includes Rear Adm. Richard Butler, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, who oversees the prison and approved "the forcible termination of the prisoners' hunger strike," and Gladys Kessler, senior judge at the court of the District of Columbia, who "qualified the forcible termination of the hunger strike … as legitimate," the Russian ministry said.

The rest of the names are those of military personnel who were involved in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.

They include Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who served as the commander of the Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2003-2004 during the Abu Ghraib scandal, and Janis Karpinski, the chief of the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003-2004, who covered up violence against inmates and who was demoted from brigadier general to colonel following an investigation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The others are retired lieutenant colonel Steven Jordan, a former director of the Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib, Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick, who was convicted on conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault, and indecent acts, Javal Davis, Charles Graner, Sabrina Harman, Jeremy Sivits, Lynndie England, and Israel Rivera.

The United States' "Magnitsky list," which previously had 18 names on it, was extended on May 20.

"As far as visa bans are concerned, there is usually a symmetrical reaction. Everyone knows that, after the Americans had published their notorious 'Magnitsky list,' we compiled our own 'Guantanamo list,' on which we put U.S. citizens, former and current officials, who are guilty of human rights abuse, persecution of our fellow citizens, or violence against adopted children from Russia," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in answering a question from the media.

"As the U.S. list, our own 'stop list' remains open. Last year, a 'Guantanamo list' of 18 names was published, which was the same number as that of the Russians on the 'Magnitsky list.' This time round, we did the same - we symmetrically banned entry to 12 Americans," Lukashevich said.

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