Call for tougher international financial sanctions in aftermath of spy attack


The Government is facing calls to toughen laws targeting international human rights violators in the wake of the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury.

Tory former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell is among those set to add amendments to legislation in a bid to beef up Britain's version of America's Magnitsky laws.

The sanctions were named to commemorate Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who claimed in 2008 that fraud was being committed by corrupt Interior Ministry officials.

Andrew Mitchell said sanctions need to be overseen by a review mechanism (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Andrew Mitchell said sanctions need to be overseen by a review mechanism (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Mr Magnitsky was arrested shortly after, accused of stealing the money himself and died a year later in jail after what supporters claim was a systematic torture campaign.

Mr Mitchell said sanctions need to be widened, and overseen by a review mechanism.

He told the BBC: "I think the Government will be looking very seriously at accepting the amendments that we want to put down at the stage in the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill which should be coming back to Parliament shortly."

Mr Mitchell said such measures would make the Government more accountable.

"It does a number of things. It makes the regime much tougher for human rights violators in terms of not giving them visas, seizing their assets, and confiscation, and so forth.

"But, it also would make the actions of the Government much more accountable to the public through more parliamentary oversight. Through some sort of independent review mechanism."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has indicated that the Salisbury incident may prompt fresh action.

The Government last year introduced measures in the Criminal Finances Act which were inspired by the US's Magnitsky Act and allow the assets of international human rights violators to be frozen.