Britain begins to impose sanctions on human rights violators

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On Monday, the UK will for the first time include foreign nationals on its list of persons at risk of an assets freeze and an entry ban on alleged human rights violations. This is a new scheme of post-Brexit sanctions, following the example of the American Magnitsky Act 2012.

Foreign Minister Dominique Raab insisted on a tough sanctions regime, and the first names to be named in parliament in the coming months will be followed by new sanctions under the “exclusively British” regime that emerged as the country withdrew from the EU in January.

“From now on, Britain will have new powers to prevent those involved in serious human rights abuses from entering the country, to prevent them from transferring money through our banks and to benefit from our economy,” Raab said.

“This is a clear example of how Britain will lead the world in its efforts to promote human rights. We will not allow people who want to hurt and destroy innocent victims to take advantage of what the UK has to offer”.

Under the Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012, the U.S. imposed entry bans and froze the assets of Russian officials in connection with the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer arrested in 2008 following his allegations that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud.

Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining about his ill-treatment.

The framework for British sanctions, called the Magnitsky Amendment, is not aimed specifically at Russians, but emerged during the London-Moscow crisis after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England.