U.S. criticizes Russia in new rights report

( Reuter )- he United States took aim at Russia on Tuesday for its human rights record, accusing the government of corruption, harassment of the media and electoral abuse and the security forces of killings and torture.

In its annual report looking at human rights in more than 190 countries last year, the State Department also criticized its usual targets Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, China, Nepal, Syria and Zimbabwe.

"Countries in which power was concentrated in the hands of unaccountable rulers remained the world's most systematic human rights violators," said the report.

Detailing human rights violations in Russia, the report cited numerous government and other abuses throughout 2007.

The continued centralization of power in the executive branch eroded the government's accountability, with opposition parties restricted and the December elections to the State Duma marked by problems during the campaign and on election day.

"Security forces reportedly engaged in killings, torture, abuse, violence and other brutal or humiliating treatment, often with impunity," the report said of Russia.

While slamming Russia, the State Department said it was "mindful" of world criticism over America's own rights record. There has been strong criticism over U.S. treatment of terror suspects held at a U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

"The U.S. government will continue to hear and reply forthrightly to concerns about our own practices, including the actions we have taken to defend our nation from the global threat of terrorism," it said.

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