US slaps 52 individuals and entities with sanctions for human rights abuses

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned a further 52 individuals and organizations on Thursday for violations under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

In an executive order signed by President Trump targeting global human rights abusers and corrupt actors, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in business transactions with those listed by Treasury.

Assets held by those targeted will subsequently be frozen and businesses associated with the actors named are also blacklisted.

“The prevalence and severity of human rights abuse and corruption” outside of the United States “have reached such scope and gravity that they threaten the stability of international political and economic systems,” read the order.

A statement released by the Treasury Department outlined those targeted:

“Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system.  Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

Among the individuals singled out for targeting include a Chinese public security official, Gao Yan, who is accused of complicity in the death of anti-corruption activist Cao Shunli; and Artem Chayka, the son of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, who is accused of profiting from his position and steering business to associates.

Also included are the former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh; Slobodan Tesic, a Serbian arms dealer; Burmese general, Maung Maung Soe, targeted for his role in leading an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims; Sergey Kusiuk, the leader of a police unit in Ukraine suspected attacking peaceful protesters; and Roberto Jose Rivas Reyes, a Nicaraguan election official suspected of rigging elections.

Three others, Dan Gertler, an Israeli businessman with deep ties to corrupt mining and oil deals in Africa, Chechen leaders Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Ayub Kataev, accused of “extrajudicial killings”, have also been sanctioned.

Originally signed into law in 2012 following the 2009 death of Moscow-based lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in Russian custody, the Magnitsky Act sought to sanction Russian officials for human rights abuses.

The law was amended in 2016 and renamed the Global Magnitsky Act for application to a worldwide audience of players and entities suspected of engaging in abhorrent acts against humanity.


[New York Times] [Bloomberg] [AP] [Photo courtesy TASS/Getty Images via The Express]