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Britain to introduce a Magnitsky law after Brexit: foreign minister

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks during the Conservative Party in Manchester, Britain, September 29, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Britain will introduce laws after it leaves the European Union to freeze assets of those deemed responsible for human rights abuses, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday.

The United States passed a law known as the Magnitsky Act in 2012 under which it has imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer 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.

“We will bring into force a UK Magnitsky law, to place visa bans and asset freezes on those individuals deemed responsible for serious human rights abuses, including torture,” Raab told the party’s annual conference in Manchester.

In 2018, the British parliament passed a so-called ‘Magnitsky amendment’ to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act to give the government the power to impose sanctions on people who commit gross human rights violations.

Raab did not give any further details of the government’s plans would differ from these existing powers.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper