17 August 2012, 20:13
Amnesty International "twisted facts" of Pussy Riot conversation - ministry
Moscow, August 17, Interfax - The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports that the Russian Embassy in Washington refused to hold a dialogue over the situation around Pussy Riot and threw out letters in their support.
"We were surprised to hear the statement by the U.S. section of the nongovernmental organization Amnesty International following a meeting with its representatives at the Russian Embassy in Washington one of these days, distorting the content of the conversation that took place. In fact, the exchange of views was substantive and to the point," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Friday.
"At the meeting, the NGO representatives were given exhaustive explanations over the issues of their interest, including measures being taken in several Russian regions to protect children from the propaganda of homosexuality and the trial over the Pussy Riot band members," the ministry said.
Amnesty International USA stated earlier that its campaigns chief, Michelle Ringuette, personally tried to hand over petitions in support of Pussy Riot to the Russian Embassy in Washington but to no avail.
"Unfortunately, the senior counselor of the Russian Embassy was unwilling to engage in a dialogue about human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association in civil society, the rights of LGBT citizens and the unlawful detention of Pussy Riot," Amnesty International said.
This official "not only rejected Amnesty International's pleas to take our concerns to Moscow, he unceremoniously dumped the petitions on the sidewalk," the statement said.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the incorrect behavior of the NGO's representatives.
"Unfortunately, Amnesty International representatives behaved incorrectly. In particular, in breach of the normal U.S. security rules, they tried to film the embassy premises. They also refused to undergo a standard X-ray procedure to monitor the content of the cardboard boxes which, they claimed, contained 'petitions gathered by the LTBT community.' It is clear that without undergoing control these packages were not allowed into the territory of the diplomatic mission. Where else, if not in the U.S., this requirement must be perceived as normal and understandable," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Blatant twisting of facts does not give credit to Amnesty International employees. One can only regret that the U.S. section of this human rights organization, instead of engaging in a serious analysis of, and search for solutions to, multiple human rights problems in the U.S., is trying to attract attention with provocative actions at foreign embassies," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.