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Russia angry with U.S. human rights report
Updated: 2005-03-03 09:21

Russia accused the United States of double standards Wednesday in an angry response to a U.S. State Department report that criticized Moscow's human rights record.

The State Department's annual report on human rights, published Monday, cited what it said were credible reports that Russian law enforcement officers engaged in torture, violence and other brutal or humiliating treatment, particularly in Russia's conflict against rebels in Chechnya.

The U.S. report also cited evidence of increased media restrictions, shortcomings in recent national elections, police corruption and political pressure on the judiciary.

The U.S criticism "once again gives us grounds to say that double standards are characteristic of the American approach to this important topic," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The entire report smacks of political bias," the statement said.

The ministry said the U.S. report ignored Moscow's concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian minorities in the former Soviet Baltic states.

It said the United States was itself guilty of human rights violations, including ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees, racial discrimination and disputed presidential elections an apparent reference to President George Bush's victory in the 2000 election, which was marred by a lengthy legal battle over the results in the decisive state of Florida.

"These conclusions concerning our country can in no way be described as objective. They are based on the distortion of facts and sometimes on rumors," the ministry said.

The U.S. study was issued four days after Bush raised Russia's democracy and human rights record with President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Slovakia.

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