United Kingdom to impose sanctions independently for first time

Russians Saudis top UK'independent sanctions list for rights violators

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said the new sanctions regime had been "long in coming, but forms a central plank of the government's foreign policy ambition to make Britain a global defender of worldwide rules and human rights". Mr Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009, after complaining of mistreatment.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab has pressed for a tough sanctions regime, and the first names to be set out in parliament will be followed by further sanctions in the coming months under a "UK-only regime" after Britain left the European Union in January.

"Today we're designating 49 people and organisations for responsibility in some of the worst human rights abuses in recent memory", Raab said.

The regime is contained in secondary legislation under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and covers those involved in assassinations and extra-judicial killing, those involved in torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and those linked to slavery, servitude or forced labour.

The Canadian version, which came into force in 2017, allows the government to impose financial and other restrictions on foreign nationals responsible for, or complicit in, violating internationally recognized human rights.

Britain's exit from the European Union gives it the power to impose its own sanctions, rather than act collectively as part of the bloc's single market.

The U.K. law authorizes the government to prevent sanctioned individuals from entering the country, channeling money through British banks, or profiting from the U.K. economy.

"We will not let those who seek to inflict pain and destroy the lives of innocent victims benefit from what the United Kingdom has to offer".


The Foreign Office declined to say in advance who would be on the list.

Canada has its own version of the Magnitsky Act - a law first adopted in the United States in 2012 after much lobbying by William Browder, once the largest foreign investor in Russian Federation until 2005, who was also Sergei Magnitsky's boss.

But the Financial Times said it is expected to include people believed by Britain to be implicated in the deaths of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"These sanctions are a forensic tool, they allow us to target perpetrators without punishing the wider people of a country that may be affected".

Mr Raab said the new powers are created to allow individuals to be targeted "without punishing the wider people of a country that may be affected".

The suite of measures can also 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.

A spokesperson for the department said the new regime will allow the United Kingdom "to work independently with allies such as the US, Canada, Australia and the European Union".

"Future targets of the regime may include those who commit unlawful killings perpetrated against journalists and media workers, or activity motivated on the grounds of religion or belief".

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