Dec. 21 - Russia's lower house of parliament approves a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children in row with U.S. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Russia's lower house of parliament approves a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children. It comes amid a diplomatic row between the two powers, as the U.S. moves to punish Russian officials linked to the death of an anti-corruption lawyer in 2009. The Russian bill also outlaws U.S.-funded "non-profit organisations that engage in poltical activity." The law was passed with 420 deputies voting in favour, 7 against, and only one abstention. Following the session, a member of opposition party 'A Just Russia' called the new law "outrageous, amoral and despicable." Outraged Russian liberals say orphans are being made victims of politics. One-man protests have also been staged throughout the city, with one sign reading "don't you dare make children victims." International rights group Human Rights Watch also condemned the move. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH DEPUTY DIRECTOR RACHEL DENBER, SAYING: "It's not surprising that there's political retribution, that there's a political tit for tat, that's not surprising, you know. But what's shocking is that they are using, that they're putting the well being of children at risk for the sake of political retribution. And that has to stop." Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign his approval after a senate vote next week.