Designations target human rights abusers in Haiti, Yemen, and Russia
WASHINGTON– Today, on International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting perpetrators of serious human rights abuse across several countries in the Western Hemisphere, Middle East, and Eurasia. Today’s actions are taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption. OFAC is also concurrently designating one Yemeni individual pursuant to E.O. 13611, “Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen.”
“As we recognize International Human Rights Day, the United States stands with innocent civilians around the globe who have been victims of violence and oppression,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich. “The United States also welcomes the growing ability of our partners to join us in targeting human rights abuses. Over the last few months, the United Kingdom and the European Union have each adopted new sanctions authorities, creating a powerful, global framework for targeting human rights abuses.”
SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN HAITI
Widespread violence and growing criminality by armed gangs in Haiti is bolstered by a judiciary that does not prosecute those responsible for attacks on civilians. These gangs, with the support of some Haitian politicians, repress political dissent in Port-au-Prince neighborhoods known to participate in anti-government demonstrations. In exchange for executing attacks designed to create instability and silence the Port-au-Prince population’s demands for improved living conditions, gangs receive money, political protection, and enough firearms to reportedly make them better armed than the Haitian National Police (HNP). In the November 2018 La Saline attack, at least 71 people were killed, over 400 houses were destroyed, and at least seven women were raped by armed gangs. Gangs removed victims, including children, from their homes to be executed and then dragged them into the streets where their bodies were burned, dismembered, and fed to animals.
While serving as an HNP officer, Jimmy Cherizier (Cherizier) planned and participated in the 2018 La Saline attack. Cherizier is now one of Haiti’s most influential gang leaders and leads an alliance of nine Haitian gangs known as the “G9 alliance.” Throughout 2018 and 2019, Cherizier led armed groups in coordinated, brutal attacks in Port-au-Prince neighborhoods. Most recently, in May 2020, Cherizier led armed gangs in a five-day attack in multiple Port-au-Prince neighborhoods in which civilians were killed and houses were set on fire.
Fednel Monchery (Monchery) was the Director General of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Authorities and, while serving in this role, participated in the planning of La Saline. Monchery supplied weapons and state vehicles to members of armed gangs who perpetrated the attack. Monchery also attended a meeting during which La Saline was planned and where weapons were distributed to the perpetrators of the attack.
Joseph Pierre Richard Duplan (Duplan), who was President Jovenel Moïse’s Departmental Delegate at the time of La Saline, is accused of being the “intellectual architect” and was seen discussing the attack with armed gang members in the La Saline neighborhood during the violence. Duplan provided firearms and HNP uniforms to armed gang members who participated in the killings. Duplan also attended a meeting during which La Saline was planned and where weapons were distributed to the perpetrators of the attack.
Cherizier, Monchery, and Duplan are designated pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being foreign persons responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.
SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN YEMEN
In Yemen, the country’s various Houthi-controlled security and intelligence agencies have committed serious human rights abuse, engaging in the prevailing practice of the arbitrary detention and torture of its citizens. Students, women, human rights activists, journalists, humanitarian workers, perceived political opponents, and members of the Baha’i community have been targeted, illegally arrested, and mistreated in detention centers run by these various agencies, the National Security Bureau (NSB), the Political Security Organization (PSO), and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Under the direction of their leaders, the NSB and PSO have been actively committing these abuses since late 2014, while the Sana’a CID has been doing so at least since 2018.
SULTAN ZABIN AND ABDUL HAKIM AL-KHAIWANI
As the current Director of the Sana’a CID, Sultan Zabin (Zabin) and his CID officers have arrested, detained, and tortured women under the pretense of a policy designed to curb prostitution and organized crime. In reality, this policy was used to target politically active women who opposed the Houthis, and resulted in numerous reported cases of illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, sexual violence, rape, torture, and other cruel treatment utilized by the Sana’a CID against these women. Zabin was responsible for the implementation of this policy that was used as a tool for repression and violence. Zabin has had direct involvement in acts of rape, physical abuse, and arbitrary arrest and detention of women as part of a policy to inhibit or otherwise prevent political activities by women who have opposed the policies of the Houthis.
As a Houthi member and Deputy Minister of the Interior, Abdul Hakim al-Khaiwani (Khaiwani) was responsible for many detention facilities and security forces, including the Sana’a CID. The illegal arrest, detention, and torture of women conducted by the CID was done so under the ultimate authority of the Ministry of Interior. Khaiwani currently serves as the Director of the Security and Intelligence Service, Yemen’s new security and intelligence agency that merged its predecessors, the PSO and NSB, in September 2019.
Zabin is designated pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse. Zabin is concurrently designated pursuant to E.O. 13611 for engaging in activities, directly or indirectly, that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.
Khaiwani is designated pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being a foreign person who is a leader or official of an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to his tenure.
ABDUL RAHAB JARFAN AND MOTLAQ AMER AL-MARRANI
Abdul Rahab Jarfan (Jarfan) is a Houthi member and the former Head of the NSB. Under Jarfan, the NSB systematically engaged in torture and abusive detention of Yemeni citizens.
During his tenure as a leader or official of the NSB, including his tenure as the Deputy Head of the NSB, Motlaq Amer al-Marrani (al-Marrani) oversaw detainees of the NSB, who were reportedly subjected to torture and other mistreatment by members of the NSB while detained. In addition, al-Marrani played a significant role in the arrest, detention, and ill treatment of humanitarian workers and other authorities working on humanitarian assistance and was also found to have abused his authority and influence over humanitarian access as leverage to generate personal profit.
Jarfan and al-Marrani are designated pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being foreign persons who are leaders or officials of an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to their tenure.
Qader al-Shami (al-Shami) is a Houthi member and the former director of the PSO. Since late 2014, the PSO has been responsible for the regular practice of illegal detention and torture of prisoners, including children. PSO officials were found to have been keeping detainees in undisclosed locations, subjecting them to torture, and not allowing them to communicate with their families, depriving them of their fundamental liberties. There have been at least 30 people reported to have been sentenced to death following their detention by the PSO. Al-Shami currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Security and Intelligence Bureau, a role he has occupied since the organization’s inception in September 2019.
Al-Shami is designated pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being a foreign person who is a leader or official of an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to his tenure.
SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN RUSSIA
Ramzan Kadyrov (Kadyrov), the Head of the Chechen Republic, is being designated today pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being a foreign person who is a leader of an organization, the Kadyrovtsy, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuses. Kadyrov and the forces he commands, commonly known as the Kadyrovtsy, are implicated in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, an opposition politician to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and other serious violations of human rights. On December 20, 2017, OFAC designated Kadyrov pursuant to the Russia Magnitsky Act for being responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, or to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections, in the Russian Federation.
Following Kadyrov’s previous designation, the Kadyrovtsy, under the guidance of Kadyrov, continued these egregious activities, to include kidnapping, torturing, and killing members of the LGBTI population in the Chechen Republic. The Kadyrovtsy are accused of illegal abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and other abuses, including the detention of journalists and activists.
In addition to Kadyrov, OFAC is designating the following six companies registered in Russia that continue to provide Kadyrov pride and significant profit:
- Absolute Championship Akhmat for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
- Akhmat MMA for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
- FC Akhmat Grozny for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
- Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
- Megastroyinvest, OOO for being owned or controlled by the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation.
- Chechen Mineral Waters Ltd. for being owned or controlled by the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation.
OFAC is also designating five individuals who are prominent members in Kadyrov’s network:
- Vakhit Usmayev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
- Timur Dugazaev, a representative of Kadyrov in Europe, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
- Ziyad Sabsabi, a representative of Kadyrov, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
- Daniil Vasilievich Martynov, a personal security advisor for Kadyrov, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
- Satish Seemar, a horse trainer for Kadyrov, has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, Kadyrov.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the President signed E.O. 13818 on December 20, 2017, in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.