Canada backs sanctions legislation targeting rights abusers

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada's foreign minister says the government has agreed to create legislation to expand Canada's international sanctions law to target gross human rights violators.

Chrystia Freeland announced the decision Wednesday night.

A Parliament committee agreed last month to support amending Canada's sanctions rules to include rights violators, acting in honor of the Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after accusing officials of a $230 million tax fraud.

The government's decision is bound to further strain relations with Russia, which has reacted strongly to the imposition of Magnitsky-style legislation elsewhere.

After President Barrack Obama signed such legislation into law in 2012, Russia responded by banning American citizens from adopting Russian children.

Ottawa and Moscow have their own differences, which includes a Russian travel ban on Freeland.