UK preparing Magnitsky sanctions over Belarus human rights violations, says foreign minister

Foreign minister Dominic Raab heavily criticized the country's recent election, calling Lukashenko's inauguration 'fraudulent'

LONDON — 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 heavily criticizing the country’s recent election.

“Given (Belarus President Alexander) 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.”

Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, 37, in Moscow on December 29, 2006. Magnitsky had been held in pre-trial detention in a complex fraud case for 11 months before he died at the Matrosskaya Tishina jail in Moscow in 2009 in a tragedy that sparked international outrage. Russia charged two doctors at the Moscow prison with causing the lawyer’s death. Photo by AFP PHOTO / HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT / HO
The snow-clad grave of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky with his portrait on the tomb (centre) at the Preobrazhenskoye cemetery in Moscow, December 7, 2012. US Congress drew a furious response from the Kremlin by passing legislation that targeted human rights abusers in the prison death of Magnitsky. Photo by ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images

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 11 months in pre-trial detention where he complained of mistreatment.

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