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Russia slams US for its rights record

29 December 2011, 10:57

Moscow - Russia's foreign ministry has attacked United States' human rights record in its first report on injustice elsewhere in the world, offering examples such as the Guantanamo Bay prison and wrongful death row convictions to paint the US as hypocritical for lecturing other nations on the subject of rights.

"The situation in the United States is a far cry from the ideals that Washington proclaims," says the report released on Wednesday.

Moscow has previously reacted angrily to the accusations of human rights breaches that the US state department has levelled at Russia in its annual reports.

The state department has expressed concern about the violent attacks on rights activists and journalists in Russia, most of which go unpunished. It also has criticised abuses in Russia's Caucasus, including extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture.

The 90-page Russian report slams EU nations, Canada and Georgia, but reserves its longest section of 20 pages for what it says are violations by the United States.

The report does not cover Asia, Africa or the Middle East, other than a five-page section criticising the Nato operation in Libya.

Moscow laments the ongoing operation of the "notorious" prison in Guantanamo Bay, where terrorism suspects have been held since the September 11 2001 attacks, and criticises President Barack Obama for "legalising indefinite and extrajudicial custody and the return of court martials".

The report accuses the US of prying into citizens' personal lives and violating the rights of Muslim Americans in the fight against terrorism. It also points to errors made by American courts.

"Judicial errors are the Achilles heel of American justice as concerns capital punishment," the report argues.

It notes the roughly 130 people sentenced to death in the past 30 years who were later cleared of the charges, some after they were executed.

The foreign ministry also struck back at international criticism of Russia's recent parliamentary election, which independent observers said involved widespread fraud.

Outrage over the vote set off a spate of protests led by citizens unhappy with Vladimir Putin's rule.

The report accuses the US of blocking independent candidates from elections and criticises the practice of allowing governors to nominate senators when a Senate seat is vacated, as when Obama became president.

It refers to the conviction this year of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was accused of trying to auction off Obama's Senate seat.

- AP

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