UK sanctions target global human rights abuses, corruption and sexual violence

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the asset freeze and travel bans ‘expose those behind the heinous violations’.

Sam Blewett
Friday 09 December 2022 14:19 GMT
James Cleverly (Aaron Chown/PA)
James Cleverly (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Britain has targeted individuals accused of human rights abuses, corruption and sexual violence in 30 sanctions across nearly a dozen countries.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the asset freeze and travel bans announced on Friday “expose those behind the heinous violations”.

Ten officials connected to Iran’s judicial and prisons systems, including those linked to handing protesters death penalties, were targeted.

Also targeted were two former directors of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where Iranian-British dual nationals including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe have been held.

Russian Colonel Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatullin was sanctioned for his alleged role as commander of the 90th Tank Division on the front line of the invasion of Ukraine.

Officials in Russia linked to torture were also targeted, as was a Muslim cleric from Pakistan accused of forced conversions and marriages of girls from religious minorities.

Individuals in the Myanmar military junta, an arms deal in Serbia and alleged human rights abuses in Nicaragua were added to the list.

Commissioners accused of mobilising troops to rape civilians in South Sudan and a group said to be behind sexual violence in Mali were targeted as well.

Co-ordinated with international allies, the action was taken to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on Friday and Human Rights Day on Saturday.

Mr Cleverly said: “It is our duty to promote free and open societies around the world.

“Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violations of our most fundamental rights to account.

“We are committed to using every lever at our disposal to secure a future of freedom over fear.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office summoned Iran’s most senior diplomat in Britain – charge d’affaires Mehdi Hosseini Matin – after Tehran announced the first execution of a protester convicted over the recent anti-government unrest.

Mr Cleverly said “we must hold Iran to account” after protester Mohsen Shekari was “brutally executed by the regime”.

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