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Canada dusts off sanctions law on corrupt officials, joins allies to target 7 abroad

Canada dusts off sanctions

Canada is using a rarely invoked sanctions law that targets corrupt office holders to join peer countries in taking aim against officials in Russia, Iran and Myanmar.

The sanctions target officials whom Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. accuse of having a role in long-standing human-rights violations.

Those listed for sanctions include two senior Iranian officials accused of overseeing the torture of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in custody in 2003.

Canada has also joined its allies in sanctioning four Russians accused of helping a violent anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya, such as by overseeing the kidnapping and torture of LGBTQ+ people.

Those sanctioned also include Myanmar's commander-in-chief, who oversaw a coup d'état against a democratically elected government in 2021.

The new sanctions come under the Magnitsky Act, legislation aimed at punishing corrupt officials that has only been used twice since its passage 2018.

Senators have argued that Ottawa should be using the law more often, since it focuses on human rights and corruption, instead of relying on more-general sanctions law to target people assisting hostile regimes.



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