UN Criticizes Russia Over Torture Allegations

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Committee Against Torture is strongly criticizing Russia for failing to investigate widespread allegations of torture and increasing intimidation and reprisals against human rights advocates and journalists.

In a report Friday, the panel of 10 independent experts called on the Russian government to take "immediate and effective measures to prevent all acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country and to eliminate impunity of those allegedly responsible."

The committee assesses compliance with a 1987 international treaty against torture and other degrading punishments. It expressed deep concern at numerous allegations that detainees have been tortured to extract confessions which were then used as evidence in court.

The panel also urged the repeal of a new law backed by President Vladimir Putin expanding the definition of treason.

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