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Britain unveils sanctions against Russians, Saudis

Britain unveils sanctions against Russians, Saudis

DPA
London
Britain on Monday announced its first Magnitsky Act-style sanctions against dozens of officials from Russia and Saudi Arabia who are accused of international human rights violations.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab listed 47 individuals subject to sanctions including the freezing of their assets and a ban on entry to Britain, saying they were involved in “some of the worst human rights abuses in recent memory.” “This is a demonstration of global Britain’s commitment to acting as a force for good in the world,” Raab said.
“We will defend media freedoms, protect freedom of religion and, with the measures we are announcing and enacting today, hold to account the perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses,” he told parliament.
Those subject to Britain’s new Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations, which are similar to the US Magnitsky Act, include 25 Russians and 20 Saudi citizens.
“The first designations will cover those individuals involved in the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who disclosed the biggest known tax fraud in Russian history,” Raab said.
Britain has developed its sanctions independently of the European Union, after it formally left the bloc in January, but the government said it would continue to cooperate with UN and EU multilateral sanctions regimes.
Raab said British officials would work closely with the United States but also “strongly support efforts to bring an EU human rights sanctions regime into effect.”
Magnitsky act campaigner Bill Browder tweeted his thanks to Raab, saying a “huge milestone was passed today with the implementation of the UK Magnitsky Act on Sergei Magnitsky’s killers.” Browder said he visited Raab’s office later Monday for a planned meeting with Raab and Magnitsky’s widow and son.
Browder, who founded Hermitage Capital Management, was barred from Russia after alleging official corruption. Magnitsky, also an anti-corruption activist, was a lawyer for his firm.
“Whilst others left Russia, understandably fearing for their lives, Magnitsky stayed on to take a stand for the rule of law, and to strike a blow against the breathtaking corruption that plagues Russia,” Raab said.
“That bravery cost him his life,” he said, adding that Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 on “trumped-up charges” of tax evasion.
Raab said the 20 Saudi citizens subject to sanctions were “responsible for the brutal murder of the writer and journalist Jamal Khashoggi” in Turkey in 2018.