World, Europe

UK imposes sanctions on 20 Saudi human rights abusers

Around 50 human rights abusers in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar, and North Korea sanctioned by UK

Karim El-Bar   | 06.07.2020
UK imposes sanctions on 20 Saudi human rights abusers


British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the UK’s new and independent sanctions system on Monday, targeting around 50 human rights abusers in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar, and North Korea.

The sanctions target individuals and organizations, but not whole countries. They include asset freezes and travel bans, and target those who breach human rights, as well as those who support or financially profit from these rights abuses, rather than just the abuser directly.

Previously, the UK was forced to take part in UN and EU sanctions, but in 2018 the country set up its post-Brexit sanctions regime.

“This government is committed to the UK being an even stronger force for good in the world,” Raab told parliament. “We will hold to account the perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses.”

“Those with blood on their hands won’t be free […] to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or siphon dirty money through British banks,” he said.

“Today we’re designating 49 people and organisations for responsibility in some of the worst human rights abuses in recent memory,” Raab said. “This is a demonstration of Global Britain’s commitment to acting as a force for good in the world.”

A statement by the Foreign Office said: “The individuals and organisations are the first wave of designations under the new regime, with further sanctions expected in the coming months.

“From today, the ground-breaking global regime means the UK has new powers to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy.”

The statement added: “It is the first time that the UK has sanctioned people or entities for human rights violations and abuses under a UK-only regime, and will allow the UK to work independently with allies such as the US, Canada, Australia and the European Union.”

The list of those sanctioned were 25 Russian nationals involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered widespread Russian corruption by Russian authorities, 20 Saudi nationals involved in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, two high-ranking Myanmar military generals involved in systemic and brutal violence against the Rohingyans, and two organizations involved in forced labor in North Korea’s gulags.

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 Oct. 2, 2018, as part of the 15-men squad sent to Turkey by Saudi authorities. Their involvement ranges from commissioning, planning, and directing the murder to concealing evidence relating to his death.

The names were Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Al Asiri, deputy head of the Saudi Intelligence services; Saud Abdullah Al Qahtani, advisor to the crown prince in the royal court; Salah Muhammed Al Tubaigy, forensic doctor with the Saudi Interior Ministry; Mustafa Mohammed Al Madani, brigadier general and intelligence officer in Saudi Arabia; Naif Hassan Al Arifi, first lieutenant, External Intelligence who worked at the Office of the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia, and Mansour Othman Abahussain, a major general who served in the office of the crown prince.

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