United Kingdom imposes sanctions on 20 Saudi human rights abusers

Clay Curtis
July 7, 2020

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, a former human rights lawyer, said in a tweet on July 6 that the sanctions would "target people who have committed the gravest human rights violations" and will make Britain "an even stronger force for good in the world, in the years ahead".

In total, Britain has sanctioned 20 Saudis involved in the murder that took place in Istanbul's Saudi Consulate in 2018, as well as 25 Russian nationals linked to the mistreatment of tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday hailed post-Brexit Britain for imposing human rights sanctions on its own for the first time, including against an angered Russian Federation.

Britain also sanctioned a number of individuals from Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

"You can not set foot in this country and we will seize your blood-drenched ill-gotten gains if you try", Raab said in announcing the new sanctions. United Kingdom officials also listed Myanmar military leaders Min Aung Hlaing and Soe Win as targets due to violence against the Rohingya minority.

Canada has used the legislation to sanction human rights abusers from Russian Federation and Venezuela, preventing them from using the Canadian banking system.

He said the sanctions aim to send a "very clear message on behalf of the British people".

Britain passed the law in 2018, but said it would hold off imposing sanctions on individuals until it officially left the European Union in 2020. In that capacity, he was sanctioned by the USA in 2017, ostensibly over the death of accountant Sergey Magnitsky in a Russian prison in 2009.

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"The UK has an outsized role in the world because this is where everyone from the developed world wants to buy property, keep their families safe and store their money", said Mr Browder, the co-founder and chief executive of Hermitage Capital.

Browder described the British sanctions as a "huge milestone" in his decade-long campaign.

Following his announcement in Parliament, the Mr Raab will meet with Sergei Magnitsky's widow and son Natalia and Nikita, along with his friend and colleague Bill Browder, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Saudis sanctioned over the death of Khashoggi - a journalist who was killed in the country's Turkish embassy - include Mustafa Mohammed Al Madani. Under the restrictions, persons targeted will not be allowed to visit the United Kingdom, buy property, or use the country's banking system.

Overall, the regime could apply to those who "facilitate, incite, promote, or support these violations/abuses, as well as those who financially profit from human rights violations and abuses".

The names of six sanctioned Saudis were included in the Foreign Office statement, who were involved in the unlawful killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, as part of the 15-men squad sent to Turkey by Saudi authorities.

It could also include those who commit unlawful killings perpetrated against journalists and media workers, or violations and abuses motivated on the grounds of religion or belief.

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