People targeted Thursday by US for rights abuses, corruption
By The Associated Press
Dec. 21, 2017
The Trump administration hit 13 individuals around the world with U.S. sanctions on Thursday under a 2016 law that empowers the Treasury Department to target people anywhere for human rights violations and corruption.
—Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who is alleged to have created a goon squad known as "the Junglers" that terrorized and killed numerous political foes, including religious leaders, journalists and dissidents, during his time in power from 1994 to 2017. Jammeh is also accused of plundering his country's treasury by stealing at least $50 million in state funds.
—Roberto Jose Rivas Reyes, the president of Nicaragua's Supreme Electoral Council, who is accused of massive corruption and being responsible for widespread vote fraud.
—Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, who is alleged to have amassed a personal fortune of billions of dollars through corrupt deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gertler is accused of using his personal relationship with Congolese President Joseph Kabila to siphon off cash from the sale of mineral and oil rights.
—Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic, who is accused of being one of the biggest weapons suppliers in the Balkans and bribing officials and politicians in various countries, including Liberia, and violating UN sanctions.
—Maung Maung Soe, the former chief of the Myanmar military's western command, who is accused of overseeing the army's ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. The U.S. said it had seen credible evidence that troops under his command carried out widespread extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and the burning of villages.
—South Sudanese businessman Benjamin Bol Mel, a former adviser to South Sudan's President Salva Kiir. His company Thai-South Sudan Construction Company Limited is alleged to have been awarded tens of millions of dollars in no-bid government contracts.
—Pakistani surgeon Mukhtar Hamid Shah, a transplant specialist who is accused of trafficking in human organs by kidnapping and detaining impoverished and illiterate laborers to take their kidneys against their will.
—Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the late Uzbek strongman Islam Karimov, who is alleged to have headed an organized crime syndicate that used government agencies to expropriate businesses, monopolize markets, solicit bribes and run extortion rackets.
—Dominican businessman Angel Rondon Rijo, who is alleged to have bribed his way into major infrastructure construction contracts, including for highways and dams worth billions of dollars.
—Artem Chaika, son of Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, who is accused of using his family connections to unfairly buy state-owned assets and win contracts, as well as harass and interfere with competitors.
—Gao Yan, the former director of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing's Chaoyang Branch, who is accused of mistreating human rights activists, including Cao Shunli, who died from organ failure in his custody after being denied medical treatment.
—Former Ukrainian police commander Sergey Kusiuk, who headed the elite Berkut unit that is accused of beating, and in some cases killing, peaceful protesters in 2014. Kusiuk fled Ukraine and is now believed to be in Russia.
—Guatemalan politician Julio Antonio Juarez Ramirez, who is accused of ordering an attack in which two journalists, one of whom had reported critically on him, were killed.
—Yankuba Badjie, the former chief of Gambia's National Intelligence Agency, who is alleged to have overseen the murder of opposition figures.