Kaniyat Militia blacklisted by the United States

After Russia blocked UN sanctions, the US imposes sanctions on Kaniyat militia and their leader

The discovery of mass graves in Tarhuna after Haftar militia withdrew from the city. [Photo: EPA]
The United States blacklists pro-Hafter forces suspected of human rights violations and war crimes after Russia blocked UN sanctions on the militia, demanding to see more proof of human rights abuses.

The sanctions imposed on Wednesday were under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act which allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators worldwide by freezing assets and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.

“Mohamed al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia have tortured and killed civilians during a cruel campaign of oppression in Libya,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States stands with the Libyan people and will use the tools and authorities at its disposal to target human rights abuses in Libya and across the world.”

The Treasury Department accused the pro-Haftar group of being responsible for the torture, forced disappearance, displacement and murder of civilians previously detained by the group.

“In June 2020, following a de facto truce, GNA-aligned forces re-entered Tarhouna and discovered at least 11 mass graves containing the bodies of civilians previously detained by the Kaniyat militia, including women, children, and elderly. Some of the deceased appeared to have been tortured, burned, or buried alive.” The statement by the Treasury Department read.”The Kaniyat militia is also responsible for hundreds of summary executions at Tarhouna prison, numerous forced disappearances, and the displacement of entire families from Tarhouna.”

This comes after the US and Germany earlier this month proposed the sanctions committee to impose an asset freeze and travel ban on the militia but the move was blocked by Russia as it said the UN could not prove the crimes tied to the pro-Haftar group.

A Russian diplomat told the Security Council “Our support in the future is possible, but conditioned by the provision of an irrefutable evidence of their involvement in the killing of civilian populations.”

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