MOSCOW, May 2 (RAPSI) – An Irish parliamentary committee has backed down from sanctioning Russian officials implicated in rights abuse following a warning that it could jeopardize a bilateral adoption agreement, the Irish Times reported on Thursday.
A resolution urging Irish leadership to express concern over the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pretrial detention center in 2009 was unanimously passed by the committee on foreign affairs.
But it dropped its earlier plans to call for an EU-wide blacklist on officials implicated in the case, similar to the one passed in the United States last year.
Russian Embassy in Dublin said in March the blacklist could “have a negative influence” on the pending adoption agreement, though it later denied making a direct link between the two issues.
Pat Breen, chairman of the Irish parliamentary committee, dismissed allegations that the Russian stance amounted to blackmail, while Senator Jim Walsh, who proposed the blacklist, called the resolution a “compromise,” according to the Irish Times.
Some 1,500 Russian children have been adopted by Irish citizens since the early 1990s.
The U.S. Senate passed last December a bill imposing visa sanctions against those Russian officials who - in the view of the US government - have been involved in human rights violations. The law is named for Magnitsky, it allows the United States to deny visas to Russian officials deemed by the White House to be complicit in the lawyer’s death and “other gross violations of human rights,” as well as freeze their US assets.
Shortly after US President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in December, Russia banned US citizens from adopting Russian children.
Officials in Moscow have said the ban is aimed at protecting Russian children from abusive American adoptive parents, though it is also widely seen as retaliation for the Magnitsky Act legislation, which the Russian government sees as US interference in its internal affairs.