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UPDATE 2-UK preparing Magnitsky sanctions over Belarus human rights violations - minister

Thu, 24th Sep 2020 13:29

(Adds comment on EU)

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Britain is preparing Magnitsky
sanctions against individuals in Belarus in coordination with
the United States and Canada, foreign minister Dominic Raab said
on Thursday, after pointedly criticising the country's recent
election.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in for a
sixth term after an election that the opposition and several
foreign governments say was rigged.

"Given Lukashenko's fraudulent inauguration, I have directed
the FCDO (foreign office) sanctions team to prepare Magnitsky
sanctions for those responsible for the serious human rights
violations," Raab told parliament.

"We are coordinating with the United States and Canada to
prepare appropriate listings as a matter of urgency."

Raab said the "whole range of potential individuals" was
under considerations for sanctions, but did not give any names.

Britain had been prepared to work with the European Union on
coordinated sanctions, but the bloc's plans have been blocked by
member state Cyprus.

In July, Britain, having left the European Union, imposed
its own sanction regime to place sanctions on 25 Russians and 20
Saudis, aimed at stopping the laundering of "blood money".

The so-called Magnitsky sanctions are named after Russian
lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who was arrested in 2008 after alleging
that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud.
Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of
mistreatment.
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper, writing by
William James, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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