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Russia denies petition to repeal US adoption ban

The Russian State Duma [official website, in Russian] on Monday rejected a petition challenging a recently passed bill that would prohibit US citizens from adopting Russian children. The petition asked [RIA Novosti report] the government to lift the controversial ban. A Russian newspaper company, Novaya Gazeta [media website, in Russian] had collected more than 100,000 signatures via the Internet. However, the committee of parliament's lower house, after formal discussions, determined that the signatures lacked verification and thus, could not be given further consideration. Although the State Duma has to review petitions that are supported by 100,000 or more citizens, it is not required under the law to submit such petitions to the entire house for a vote.

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] had announced last week that Russia will delay [JURIST report] the enforcement of the controversial law until January 2014. The bill was signed into law by Putin in December after both the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, and State Duma [JURIST reports] approved it. RAPSI, a legal information agency which operates in coordination with Russian courts, reports the Yakovlev initiative was adopted in retaliation [RAPSI report] for the US adoption of the Magnitsky Act [text], which imposes US travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia. The bill was named for Sergei Magnitsky [BBC report], a Russian whistle-blower who was arrested on charges of tax fraud and later died in prison [JURIST report].

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