The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on dozens of Iranian, Syrian, and Ugandan individuals and entities, citing severe human rights abuses committed by them.
Announced by the US Treasury and State Department yesterday, the sanctions target government and security officials from all three countries, which were found to have brutally repressed protests and dissent over the years, committed war crimes and oversaw prison systems responsible for mass torture and death.
Iranian individuals hit by the sanctions include Hassan Karami, the Commander of Iran’s Law Enforcement Force (LEF) special police units which conduct crowd control and suppress protests, as well as Gholamreza Soleimani, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Basij forces.
These men, along with the other blacklisted Iranians, were responsible for the crackdown on protests in 2009 and 2019, the latter of which killed around 1,500 protestors and saw thousands more detained.
The Syrians who were sanctioned including two major generals in the air force – Tawfiq Muhammad Khadour and Muhammad Youssef Al-Hasouri – who were reportedly responsible for chemical gas attacks on civilians in 2017 and 2018, as well as more acts of suppression against those who opposed the Syrian regime.
The Treasury stated that “These senior officials and the organisations they are associated with have imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Syrians who peacefully called for change. Moreover, at least 14,000 prisoners in Syria have allegedly died as a result of torture.”
As for the Ugandan hit with the US sanctions, he is Major General Abel Kandiho, the Chief of Military Intelligence. According to the Treasury, those who were arrested by Kandiho and his forces “were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts … including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death.”
Andrea Gacki, head of the Treasury’s sanctions office, said that it “will continue to defend against authoritarianism, promoting accountability for the violent repression of people seeking to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,”
Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, also assured in a statement that the US “is committed to promoting democracy and accountability for those who abuse human rights around the world.”