- Raab described the sanctions as a "means to target the perpetrators."
- The sanctions also include two Burmese generals and two organizations involved in forced labor in North Korea.
- Russia has vowed to respond to the "hostile" sanctions announced by Britain.
On Monday, the government of the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against 25 Russian citizens who say they participated in the mistreatment and murder of lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, and 20 Saudis believed to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a speech to Parliament, Foreign Minister Dominique Raab said:
“Today this government … sends a very clear message on behalf of the British people that those with blood on their hands – the thugs and despots, the henchmen and dictators – will not be free to waltz into this country to buy up property on the King’s Road, to do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or frankly to siphon dirty money through British banks or other financial institutions.”
“The first sanctions will include those individuals who participated in the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who revealed the largest tax fraud in the history of Russia,” Raab said. “The designations will also include those responsible for the brutal murder of the writer and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
He described the sanctions as a “means to target the perpetrators.” Raab made reference in Parliament to London’s luxury neighborhoods and retail districts.
The sanctions also include two Burmese generals suspected of involvement in violations of the Rohingya Muslim minority, as well as two organizations involved in “forced labor, torture, and murder in camps in North Korea.”
Magnitsky died at the age of 37 in 2009 while in remand. He was detained on charges of tax evasion after he uncovered a massive corruption network while working in the tax affairs section of the Armitage Capital law firm in Moscow.
Khashoggi, who wrote critical articles in The Washington Post against the royal family after he was close to them, was killed in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was directed to obtain documents.
On Friday, the Turkish judiciary began a trial in absentia of twenty Saudis, including two close associates of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, accused by the Turkish authorities of killing Khashoggi.
“You cannot set foot in this country and we will seize your blood-drenched ill-gotten gains if you try,” Raab said in announcing the new sanctions. This mechanism allows Britain, which is a financial center through which to transfer or place the largest wealth in the world, to adopt sanctions related specifically to human rights and independently of the United Nations and the European Union.
In their first reaction, Russia has vowed to respond to the “hostile” sanctions announced by Britain. “Russia reserves the right to take reprisals in connection with the anti-UK decision,” the Russian embassy in London said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the move. “This sanctions regime marks the beginning of a new era for UK sanctions policy and cooperation between our two democracies.”
“The United States will continue to seek out additional allies and partners to jointly leverage all tools at our disposal to deny access to the US and international financial systems to all those who engage in serious human rights abuses.”