US hits 18 with sanctions over dead Russian lawyer

The US imposed sanctions on 18 people from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan on Friday in reaction to Moscow's handling of the case of dead human rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The US Treasury sanctions, which freeze a person's assets and ban Americans from doing business with them, came as Washington presses Moscow over the case of Magnitsky, who died in 2009 after spending 11 months in Russian prisons.

"The November 2009 death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in pre-trial detention in Moscow was a tragedy, and the investigation into his death has yielded no visible result," a senior US official said Friday.

"Russian officials implicated directly in Magnitsky's imprisonment and prison officials directly involved in the series of decisions that led to his death remain unpunished."