• Saturday, Aug 15, 2020
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Britain imposes sanctions on Russians, Saudis, Myanmar over rights abuses

  • Published at 03:14 pm July 7th, 2020
Boris Johnson
File Photo: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on his way to Buckingham Palace after the general election in London, Britain, December 13, 2019 Reuters

After leaving the European Union in January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to forge a new independent role for Britain in foreign and trade affairs

Britain imposed sanctions on 25 Russians, including the top state investigator, and 20 Saudis on Monday, as part of post-Brexit measures foreign minister Dominic Raab said were aimed at stopping the laundering of "blood money in this country".

After leaving the European Union in January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to forge a new independent role for Britain in foreign and trade affairs, and this was the first time London could impose asset freezes and visa bans independently.

Following are some of the more notable names on the sanctions list, who will be subject to asset freezes and visa bans:

Russia

Alexander Bastrykin, the country's top investigator, whose Investigative Committee reports directly to President Vladimir Putin. He has also been blacklisted by the United States and Canada over the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer arrested in 2008 after alleging that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of mistreatment.

Saudi Arabia

Saud al-Qahtani, a former high-profile Saudi royal adviser, and Ahmed al-Asiri, a former deputy intelligence chief, both of whom had charges against them dropped in connection with the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.

A Saudi prosecutor at the time said there was no evidence connecting Qahtani to the killing and dismissed charges against Asiri.

The Saudi prosecutor had previously said that Qahtani had discussed Khashoggi’s activities before he entered the Saudi consulate with the team which went on to kill him. The prosecutor said Qahtani had acted in coordination with Asiri.

A Turkish court put 20 Saudi officials on trial in absentia on Friday. The names on the British sanctions list are mostly the same.

Myanmar

Britain has imposed sanctions on two Myanmar military leaders for what it says were human rights abuses against the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities: Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Burmese military and his deputy, Soe Win.

A 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar drove more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. United Nations investigators have said Myanmar’s operation included mass killings, gang rapes and widespread arson and was executed with “genocidal intent.”

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