US Reps on ‘anti-terror’ Russia tour

A group of US lawmakers have taken an Ëœanti-terrorâ„¢ trip to Russia and are due to meet with head of the Chechen Republic, cited by human rights groups as a brutal ruler involved in numerous cases of torture and killing of dissidents.

California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is leading a six-member delegation to Moscow Å“to discuss improving counterterrorism cooperation,” The Washington Post reports on Thursday, insisting that the trip was arranged by American Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, who is close to Chechnyaâ„¢s Muslim ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, in a bid to boost his image.

According to the report, the idea of the Chechnya visit by US lawmakers generated Å“heated” arguments in Washington and was opposed by the State Department and other officials Å“not only because of safety concerns but also because of Kadyrovâ„¢s reputation.”

The daily further cites Human Rights Watch as stating that the 36-year-old Kadyrov Å“is alleged to be personally behind a number of cases of torture and killings.”

This is while the US-based rights group has often been accused by many observers of following the official American foreign policy in reporting human rights violations across the globe.

Rep. Rohrabacher, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats, is accompanied on the Russia trip by three other Republican members of the House, Steve King of Iowa, Paul Cook of California and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Two Democratic Congressmen, William Keating of Massachusetts and Steve Cohen of Tennessee are also part of the delegation but do not plan to join their Republican peers on the Chechnya visit, the report adds.

Rohrabacher said his congressional delegation would be meeting with Russian officials Å“to find ways to work together better in the fight against terrorism.

Aside from searching for answers to Å“questions about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects,” who reportedly have roots in Chechnya and Dagestan, Å“the delegation wants to show Russians that their interests coincide with those of Americans in fighting terrorism,” the report says.

The daily, however, does not elaborate on what type of answers the US lawmakers are looking to find during their visits to Moscow and Chechnya.

Å“The Cold War is over,” Rohrabacher is quoted as saying. Å“We should be standing together.”

Rep. Keating, who represents a congressional district near Boston, said he was going to Moscow Å“on behalf of the victims of the marathon bombing,” adding that Å“we want to build bridges, so this doesnâ„¢t happen to other people.”

The development comes as Americans accused two young naturalized US citizens and brothers, originally from Dagestan, of involvement in the Boston bombings and then suspiciously killed one of them and critically injured the other.

Moreover, a friend of one of the accused bombers, Ibragim Todasheve, 27, who was also a Chechnya native and lived in Orlando, Florida, was also suspiciously killed recently by an FBI agent during an interrogation session.

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This article originally appeared on: Press TV