The United Kingdom has announced sanctions against 30 people worldwide, including Russian and Iranian officials, targeting those it deems responsible for acts of torture, sexual violence and the violent repression of street protests.
The move came on Friday, a day after France announced plans for new European Union sanctions against Iran over human rights abuses in its security crackdown on popular unrest there as well as its supply of drones to Russia before Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
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The British government said its sanctions were coordinated with international partners to mark International Anti-Corruption Day and Global Human Rights Day.
They encompassed individuals involved in activities including the torture of prisoners and the mobilisation of troops to rape civilians.
“Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violations of our most fundamental rights,” foreign secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.
A Russian colonel
Those sanctioned include Russian Colonel Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatullin for his role as the commander of the 90th Tank Division, which has been involved in fighting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
The government said there have been multiple allegations made against serving members of the division, including the conviction in Ukraine of a senior lieutenant on sexual abuse charges during the conflict.
Russia, which has said it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine to eliminate threats to its security, has denied committing war crimes or targeting civilians.
Britain also sanctioned 10 Iranian officials connected to Iran’s prison systems. This included six people linked to the Revolutionary Courts that have been responsible for prosecuting protesters with sentences including the death penalty.
Nationwide protests that erupted after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 have posed one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic republic since its establishment in 1979.
The British government sanctioned Ali Cheharmahali and Gholamreza Ziyayi, former directors of Evin prison in Tehran, which it said was a facility notorious for the mistreatment of both Iranian and foreign inmates.
The foreign office said the sanctions against 11 countries across seven sanctions regimes were the most that Britain has ever imposed in one package.
Others on the list, accused of violating human rights, were from Nicaragua, Pakistan and Uganda.
The UK also highlighted orchestrated sexual violence in sanctioning two local officials in South Sudan, one armed group in Mali and three military entities in Myanmar.
Designated individuals from Kosovo, Moldova and Serbia were accused of corruption.