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UK imposes first ‘Magnitsky sanctions’; here’s the list

The UK used its new Magnitsky-style law for the first time last week to sanction 47 individuals and two organizations for their alleged involvement in “some of the most notorious human rights violations and abuses in recent years.”

Those sanctioned include 25 Russian officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. The 37-year-old Russian lawyer died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after exposing a $230 million tax fraud.

Twenty senior Saudi intelligence officials were also named. They were allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Also sanctioned Monday were two military generals from Myanmar and two organizations from North Korea.

Britain followed the EU human rights regime until Brexit. This month, it enacted its own Magnitsky-style law called the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020. The new law allows the UK government to impose asset freezes and travel bans.

The United States enacted its Magnitsky law in 2012 and has sanctioned about 200 individuals and entities. OFAC added four Chinese individuals to the list this month, and a Chinese government organization.

The two North Korea organizations that the UK named last week — the Ministry of State Security Bureau and the Ministry of People’s Security Correctional Bureau — allegedly run prison camps holding political prisoners.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

The two Myanmar generals sanctioned are allegedly responsible for ethnic violence against Rohingya and other minorities.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement to Parliament that “the government will review all designations at least once every three years.” Individuals can also request that a minister review the decision, and can challenge a designation in court.

Raab credited passage of the UK Magnitsky law to Bill Browder, whose London-based investment firm employed Sergei Magnitsky in Moscow. Browder campaigned for Magnitsky laws in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

Raab told Parliament the new law will stop human-rights abusers, kleptocrats, and those involved in organized crime from laundering “blood money” in the UK.

After announcing the sanctions list Monday, Raab met in his office with Browder, along with Magnitsky’s widow and son.

The UK Sanctions List under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (last updated July 6, 2020) can be downloaded here.

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