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US sanctions former Guinean leader and Mali politician for rights abuses

US sanctions freeze assets, including those of former Guinean president Conde and the son of former Mali president Keita.

The United States has imposed sanctions on more than 40 individuals and entities for alleged rights abuses from nine countries, including former Guinean President Alpha Conde and Karim Keita, son of former Malian leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Karim Keita.

In a statement issued on Friday, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the announcement was the result of an extensive multi-year investigation.

Conde, deposed in a coup in September 2021, was sanctioned for his “connection to serious human rights abuses.”

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In 2010, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected leader and was re-elected to a controversial third term following a constitutional referendum 10 years later. His presidency was mired by allegations of endemic corruption and serial human rights abuses.

In May, the Guinean attorney general ordered legal proceedings against Conde and 26 of his former officials for alleged crimes, including acts of violence while in office. The charges range from complicity in murder and assault to destruction of property.

According to the statement issued by the US Embassy in Guinea, Conde’s security forces committed acts of violence against opposition supporters and “the government arbitrarily arrested and detained opposition members” in 2020.

Meanwhile, Keita served as chairman of Mali’s National Assembly Security and Defense Commission from February 2014 until his father was overthrown in a coup in August 2020. He used his position to receive bribes, embezzle funds of the government and remove other officials who did not support his actions, the US said.

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Keita was also allegedly involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of reporter Birama Toure, who was investigating his involvement in corruption.

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“Corrupt actors and human rights violators depend on the failures of the international financial system to perpetrate their activities,” Brian Nelson, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a separate statement on Friday.

“Over the past year, the Treasury Department has made fighting corruption and serious human rights abuses a top priority, including through the use of financial sanctions and by addressing vulnerabilities in the US and international financial systems. By exposing the egregious behavior of these actors, we can help disrupt their activities, dismantle their networks, and deprive them of resources,” he added.

The announced sanctions freeze any US assets of the affected individuals and prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.

Individuals and entities from North Korea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iran, the Philippines, Russia, China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region and elsewhere were also included on the sanctions list.

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