Russia Parliament Passes Anti-US Adoption Bill

MOSCOW -- Russia's upper house of parliament approved a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit Americans from adopting Russian children and impose other measures in retaliation for a U.S. law designed to punish Russians accused of human rights violations. 

The bill would also outlaw some U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations and impose visa bans and asset freezes on Americans accused of violating the rights of Russians abroad. 

The bill was endorsed by the lower house last week and is now expected to be sent to President Vladimir Putin to sign.

Putin hasn't committed to signing the bill, but referred to it as a legitimate response to the new U.S. law.

It is one part of a larger measure by angry lawmakers retaliating against a recently signed U.S. law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators. 

The U.S. law is primarily intended to end Cold War-era trade restrictions and was hailed by U.S. businesses worried about falling behind in the race to win shares of Russia's more open market, but its human rights part has outraged Putin's government.

Dubbed the Magnitsky act, the U.S. legislation is named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested by officials he accused of a $230-million tax fraud.

He was repeatedly denied medical treatment and in 2009 died after almost a year in jail after being severely beaten by guards.

Some top Russian officials, including the foreign minister, have spoken flatly against the Russian bill, arguing that the measure would be in violation with Russia's constitution and international obligations.

Earlier Wednesday, several protesters were detained outside the upper house as it prepared to make its decision.

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