UK sanctions target 30 corrupt political figures, human rights violators and perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence around

  • New UK sanctions targets 30 individuals and entities oppressing fundamental freedoms around the world in most widespread package to date
  • This includes 18 designations targeting individuals involved in violations and abuses of human rights and 6 perpetrators behind conflict-related sexual violence
  • A further 5 individuals targeted for their involvement in serious corruption and illicit finance

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has today (09 December) announced a new wave of sanctions that targets corrupt actors, and those violating and abusing human rights, as well as perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict.

This wave, co-ordinated with international partners, marks International Anti-Corruption Day and Global Human Rights Day.

The package includes individuals and entities involved in a wide range of grievous activities – including the torture of prisoners, the mobilisation of troops to rape civilians, and systematic atrocities.

These sanctions demonstrate the UK’s commitment to defend free societies and the human rights of everyone, everywhere.

Foreign Secretary James 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.

Since gaining new powers following our exit from the EU, the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office has used targeted sanctions across multiple regimes to hold those committing these egregious acts, whether in Russia, Iran, Myanmar, or elsewhere, to account.

Today’s sanctions include targets from 11 countries across 7 sanctions regimes – the most that the UK has ever brought together in one package.

Sanctions targeting Human Rights violators and abusers

As part of today’s package, the UK has designated 8 individuals under our Global Human Rights regime, which allows the UK to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy. These sanctions include:

  • Mian Abdul Haq, a Muslim Cleric from Pakistan, responsible for forced conversions and marriages of girls and women from religious minorities
  • General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police in Uganda from 2005 to 2018. While Kayihura was in charge, he oversaw multiple units responsible for human rights violations including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment
  • Sadrach Zelodon Rocha and Yohaira Hernandez Chirino, the mayor and deputy mayor of Matagalpa in Nicaragua. Both have been involved in promoting and supporting grievous violations of human rights
  • Andrey Tishenin, member of the Russian Federal Security Service in Crimea, and Artur Shambazov, a senior detective in the Autonomous republic of Crimea. The pair tortured Ukrainian Oleksandr Kostenko in 2015
  • Valentin Oparin, Major of Justice for the Russian Federation, and Oleg Tkachenko, Head of Public Prosecutions for the Rostov region. Both individuals have obstructed complaints of torture, with Tkachenko also using torture to extract testimony

Sanctions in Iran and Russia

The UK is also using geographical sanctions regimes to ensure that violators of human rights are held to account.

10 Iranian officials connected to Iran’s judicial and prison systems, have been sanctioned.

This includes 6 individuals linked to the Revolutionary Courts that have been responsible for prosecuting protestors with egregious sentences including the death penalty.

In addition, Ali Cheharmahali, and Ghloamreza Ziyayi, former directors of the Evin Prison, in Tehran, a facility notorious for the mistreatment of both Iranian and foreign detainees, have been sanctioned. Allah Karam Azizi, warden of Razee Shahr Prison, has also been sanctioned.

The UK has also sanctioned the Russian Colonel Ibatullin for his role as the commander of the 90th Tank Division, which has been on the front line since Russia began its illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Sexual violence in conflict, which is currently happening in at least 18 active conflicts around the world, is an abhorrent act and and prohibited by international law.

In many cases it is used as a deliberate method of warfare. Six individuals and entities are being sanctioned today – utilising one of the tools at the UK’s disposal to hold perpetrators of CRSV to account.

Amongst those sanctioned today are Gordon Koang Biel and Gatluak Nyang Hoth, the County Commissioners for Koch and Mayendit in South Sudan. Both individuals were involved in the conflicts in the Unity State between February and May 2022, and mobilised troops to rape civilians.

The Katiba Macina group, also known as the Macina Liberation Front, in Mali, has been sanctioned. The group is known for perpetrating sexual violence, including the organisation of forced marriages

Today’s sanctions also target those involved in the Myanmar military junta. The security forces are known for committing systematic atrocities against the people of Myanmar, including massacre, torture, and rape. Designations include:

  • The Office of the Chief of Military and Security Affairs. It is reported that this office has been the central perpetrator of torture for interrogation since the coup, including rape and sexual violence
  • The 33rd and 99th Light Infantry Division of the Myanmar Armed Forces who were responsible for attacks including sexual violence during ‘the clearance operations” of the Rakhine state in 2017 and continue to commit atrocities across the country.

Sanctions targeting corrupt actors

The UK is also today using its Global Anti-Corruption regime to sanction an additional 5 individuals.

Lining their pockets through corruption and theft, corrupt actors have a corrosive effect on the communities around them – undermining democracy and depriving countries of vital resources for their own gain.

As a result, over 2% of global GDP is lost to corruption every single year.

The UK is using sanctions to tackle serious corruption. Today’s designations include:

  • Slobodan Tesic, a significant arms dealer based in Serbia, accused of bribing the Chief State Prosecutor of another country
  • Ilan Shor, the Chairman of the Şor Party in Moldova, and reportedly involved in the 2014 Moldovan Bank Fraud Scandal. Shor was accused of bribery to secure his position as chair of the Banca de Economii in 2014
  • Vladimir Plahotniuc, a businessman and a former politician, fugitive from Moldovan justice, involved in capturing and corrupting Moldova’s state institutions
  • Milan Radojcic, a construction industry businessman and Vice president of Serb List. Radojcic has profited from the misappropriation of state contracts and used his influence to award his own construction companies lucrative contracts
  • Zvonko Veselinovic, a construction industry businessman in Kosovo using public contracts to misappropriate state funds

The UK will continue to use all levers at our disposal to tackle corrupt actors and morally reprehensible violations and abuses, including sexual violence, of human rights around the world.

Background

Today’s designations further develops the UK’s use of sanctions this year to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses and corrupt actors.

In Russia the UK has sanctioned over 1200 individuals, including members of the Russian military responsible for atrocities. In Iran our sanctions have targeted the officials responsible for heinous human rights violations.

The UK supports those seeking to uphold these values of freedom and democracy, including through:

  • Hosting the 2022 Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Conference, where the Foreign Secretary committed up to £12.5 million of new funding to support survivors of conflict related sexual violence and strengthen prosecutions
  • Using the Modern Slavery Fund to support a National Anti-Trafficking Plan in Albania, and a human trafficking prevention module for police recruits in Vietnam
  • Working with the Media Freedom Coalition and Global Media Defence Fund to support more than 3,000 journalists, 490 lawyers and over 120 civil society organisations in the last 3 years
  • Supporting the NGO Open Ownership to help 12 countries develop beneficial ownership registers, to ensure transparency of company ownership, preventing corruption and illicit finance

Profiles of designations, organised by geography

All individuals are subject to an asset freeze and travel ban. All entities are subject to an asset freeze.

Crimea & Russia

  • Valentin Aleksandrovich Oparin, Major of Justice and an investigator of the 534th Military Investigation Department of the Armed Forces of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation
  • Andrey Vyacheslavovich Tishenin, senior detective in the Ukrainian Security Service
  • Artur Rinatovich Shambazov, former senior detective in the main department for the protection of national statehood of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
  • Oleg Vladmirovich Tkachenko, Head of the Department for Public Prosecutors for the Rostov region
  • Colonel Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatullin, member of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and has held the position of Commander of the 90th Tank Division

Iran

  • Allah Karam AZIZI, Warden of Razaee Shahr Prison, Alborz
  • Iman AFSHARI, Presiding judge of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran
  • Seyed Ali MAZLOUM, Presiding judge of Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran
  • Mohammed-Reza AMOUZAD, Presiding judge of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran
  • Ali ALGHASIMEHR, Prosecutor General of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran
  • Ali CHEHARMAHALI, Former Director of Evin Prison (July 2016 to July 2019)
  • Gholamreza ZIYAYI, Former Director of Evin Prison (July 2019 to June 2020)
  • Hassan BABAEI, Former Judge in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran
  • Mostafa MOHEBI, Former Director of State Prison Organisation in Tehran Province (June 2016 to June 2019)
  • Mousa GHAZANFARABADI, Former Head of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran (May 2016 to November 2020)

Kosovo

  • Milan Rajko Radojcic, member of the Zvonko Veselinovic Organised Crime Group and Vice-President of Srpska Lista/Serbian List (SL)
  • Zvonko Veselinovic, a businessman in the construction industry

Mali

  • Katiba Macina, a jihadist and armed group in Mali run by Amadou Kouffa. The group are aligned with Al-Qaeda

Moldova

  • Ilan Shor, the Chairman of the Şor Party since 2016. He has also been a Member of the Moldovan Parliament since March 2019. Shor held the position of chair of Banca de Economii (BEM) between May 2014 and November 2014
  • Vladimir Plahotniuc. The Democratic Party of Moldova chairman between December 2016 and June 2019

Myanmar

  • The Office of the Chief of Military and Security Affairs
  • The 33rd Light Infantry Division (33 LID) of the Myanmar Army
  • The 99 Light Infantry Division (99 LID) of the Myanmar Army

Nicaragua

  • Sadrach Zeledón Rocha, Mayor of the municipality of Matagalpa
  • Yohaira Hernández Chirino, Deputy Mayor of Matagalpa

Pakistan

  • Mian Abdul Haq, a Muslim cleric of the Bharchundi Sharif shrine in Ghotki, Sindh, who is responsible for forced marriages and forced religious conversions of non-Muslims and minors

Serbia

  • Slobodan Tesic, a significant arms and munitions dealer in the Balkans

South Sudan

  • Gordon Koang Beil, County Commissioner for Koch, Unity State, South Sudan
  • Gatluak Nyang Hoth, County Commissioner for Mayendit (also referred to as Mayiandit), Unity State, South Sudan

Uganda

  • General Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police in Uganda from 2005 to 2018

The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime

The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in serious violations or abuses of three human rights:

  • right to life
  • right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or
  • right to be free from slavery, not to be held in servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour

The Global Anti Corruption Sanctions Regime

​The Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in:

  • Serious Corruption
  • Bribery
  • Misappropriation of property

Geographic sanctions regimes

The Iran (Human Rights) Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in:

  • the commission of a serious human rights violation or abuse in Iran,

The Mali Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in a number of activities, including:

  • Attacks against, or obstruction of Diplomatic personnel, government institutions and international missions, or; humanitarian assistance activity in Mali.
  • Serious human rights violations or abuses, or violations of international humanitarian law
  • the production in Mali of narcotic drugs, smuggling or trafficking
  • All action, policy or activity which threatens the peace, stability and security of Mali or undermines efforts to implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
  • =Failing to comply with or implement, including through prolonged delay, the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.

The Myanmar Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in:

  • undermining democracy, the rule of law or good governance in Myanmar;
  • the repression of the civilian population in Myanmar;
  • the commission of, or the obstruction of an independent investigation into, a serious human rights violation or abuse in Myanmar;
  • the commission of a violation of international humanitarian law in Myanmar;
  • the obstruction of a humanitarian assistance activity in Myanmar;
  • any other action, policy or activity which threatens the peace, stability or security of Myanmar,

The Russia Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in:

  • destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine, or
  • obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia,

The South Sudan Sanctions Regime can be used to impose sanctions for involvement in a number of activities, including:

  • The commission of a serious human rights violation or abuse or the commission of a violation of international humanitarian law in South Sudan;
  • action, policy or activity which threatens the peace, stability and security of South Sudan or undermines efforts to resolve the political crisis and armed conflicts in South Sudan.
  • an attack against, or obstruction of the activities of, diplomatic personnel, regional or international monitoring and peace-support missions
  • obstruction of the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance in South Sudan;
  • the misappropriation of state funds, the illicit exploitation of natural resources in South Sudan;

Definitions of types of sanctions

Asset freeze – An asset freeze prevents any UK citizen, or any business in the UK, from dealing with any funds or economic resources which are owned, held or controlled by the designated person. UK financial sanctions apply to all persons within the territory and territorial sea of the UK and to all UK persons, wherever they are in the world. It also prevents funds or economic resources being provided to or for the benefit of the designated person.

Travel ban – A travel ban means that the designated person must be refused leave to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom, providing the individual is an excluded person under section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971.

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