Russia rejects U.S. criticism of opposition leader's jail

09:26, January 07, 2011      

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Senior Russian senators Thursday defended the conviction of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, slamming claims by U.S. senators that the jailing was "inappropriate" and might imperil the "reset" of bilateral ties.

Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council's foreign relations committee, said the criticisms from the United States were an intrusion into Russia's domestic affairs.

"When Barack Obama became president, he promised not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor: not to intrude in other countries' domestic affairs and not to use force to impose democracy around the world," Margelov told local media.

He also mentioned the hard-won ratification of the new START treaty in the U.S. Senate, saying the efforts from both sides "makes McCain's and Lieberman's statement look all the more awkward and inappropriate," referring to a statement Thursday by U.S. senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

The U.S. senators said they were "deeply disappointed by the arrest of former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and other members of the opposition, and by the unjust prison sentences they have received."

Nemtsov, a Solidarity leader and Russia's Deputy Prime Minister for two years in the 1990s, was sentenced last Sunday to 15 days in jail for resisting police at a Moscow rally on New Year's Eve.

The other two opposition leaders, who were also detained on Dec. 31., were given 10 days and five days in jail respectively under the same charge.

Source: Xinhua

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