USA – Iran, ISIL, & Al-Qaida designations

Iran

OFAC has sanctioned the Tehran Prisons Organisation and a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organisation, Sohrab Soleimani, in connection with alleged serious human rights abuses in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Tehran Prisons Organisation, which Soleimani previously headed up and now oversees in his current role, is allegedly responsible for abuses against political prisoners housed in Evin Prison, including an incident in April 2014 in which several political prisoners are said to have been brutally attacked by prison staff.  In its press release, the US Treasury said that the US would “vigorously exercise its sanctions authorities outside the scope of the JCPOA to counter the Iranian government’s support for terrorism, ballistic missile programme, regional destabilisation, and human rights abuses”.

ISIL & Al-Qaida

Two ISIL financial facilitators in Libya, Ali al-Safrani and Abd Zarqun, and Algerian ISIL supporter Hamma Hamani have been designated by OFAC as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.  Al-Safrani and Abd Zarqun are said to be high-level leaders within ISIL, and Hamani is said to have supported ISIL and trafficked weapons in Libya. The Treasury’s press release is here.

In addition, the US State Department has designated 2 Canadian citizens, Tarek Sakr and Farah Shirdon, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Sakr is said to have conducted sniper training in Syria and been linked to Syrian al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusrah Front. Shirdon is allegedly a prominent ISIL fighter and recruiter who has also been involved in fundraising. The State Department’s press release is here.

EU updates Yemen & ISIL/Al-Qaida listings

The EU has updated the listings of 4 people listed on its sanctions against Yemen, implementing changes made by the UN to its own sanctions listings.  The people are Abdullah Hakim, Abd Al-Houthi, Ali Saleh, and Ahmed Saleh. See Implementing Regulation 2017/628 implementing Regulation 1352/2014 and Implementing Decision 2017/634 implementing Decision 2014/932/CFSP.

It has also updated 2 listings under its ISIL & Al-Qaida sanctions, also implementing UN changes.  The listings are for Radi El Ayashi and the Mujahidin Indonesian Timur.  See Implementing Regulation 2017/630 and Implementing Regulation 2017/637 respectively amending Regulation 881/2002.

US designates 7 more people for ties to ISIL

OFAC

OFAC has designated 2 people, Syria-based Muhammad Tamtomo and Syria/Iraq-based Muhammad Jedi, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for allegedly providing financial and operational support to ISIL.  Specifically, they are said to have supported ISIL recruitment and attack-planning in Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

OFAC’s press release is here.

State Department

The State Department has designated 5 people as SDGTs for their involvement with ISIL. Among them are British national Anjem Choudary, who was sentenced to imprisonment in September 2016 for acting as a key figure in ISIL’s recruitment drive.

The State Department’s press release is here.

ECJ says actions by armed forces can be terrorist acts for sanctions purposes

The European Court of Justice has just given judgment in the LTTE case, Case C-158/14 A, B, C, D v Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken.  The Court followed the views of Advocate General Sharpston in her opinion (see previous blog). This was a preliminary reference, meaning that the ECJ was answering questions about the interpretation of EU law rather than being asked to invalidate sanctions measures.  The 2 main points in the judgment are that:

  • The preliminary reference was admissible because it was not clear that A, B, C and D would have had standing to bring a direct action in the General Court (since they were not EU-designated) – had they had so they would have had to have brought a direct action not a preliminary reference; and
  • Actions by armed forces during periods of armed conflict within the meaning of international humanitarian law can constitute terrorist offences / terrorist acts for the purposes of the EU’s terrorist asset freezing regime.

EU renews all autonomous counter-terrorism listings

eu-council-1The EU Council has reviewed and decided to continue all of the listings under the EU’s autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions regime, which targets people and groups said to be involved in terrorism around the world, including Hamas, Hizballah, and FARC (the sanctions against FARC were suspended in September 2016, see previous blog).  These sanctions are a separate regime from the regime targeting ISIL & Al-Qaida, which since 20 September last year has also allowed the EU to impose its own listings, whereas previously it could only implement UN or individual Member State listings (see previous blog).

See Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/150 implementing Regulation 2580/2001 and repealing Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1127 and Decision 2017/154 updating Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and repealing Decision (CFSP) 2016/1136.  The EU’s notices to listed people and entities are here and here.  Listed people and entities may submit a request to the Council at any time that the decision to list them be reconsidered.  In order for their requests to be considered at the next review, they should be submitted by 24 March 2017.

US ISIL & Hizballah designations

jakarta-indonesia-1The US State Department has designated Alexanda Kotey, a British national, and Indonesian group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.  Kotey is said to be one of 4 members of a British ISIL cell known as “The Beatles”, which was once headed by SDGT Mohamed Emwazi (Jihadi John).  The cell is said to be responsible for capturing and executing 24 hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and Mr Kotey is also said to have recruited several UK nationals to join ISIL.  JAD, based in Indonesia, is composed of Indonesian extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL.  In January 2016, 4 people were killed and 25 wounded in Jakarta in an attack attributed to JAD.

In addition, the US Treasury has designated as SDGTs 2 Indonesians and 2 Austrialians for acting on behalf of ISIL, as well as 2 supporters of Hizballah. The details of the listings are here and here.

US sanctions Osama bin Laden’s son

department-of-state-1The US State Department has imposed sanctions on Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza, following an announcement by al-Qaida’s leader in August 2015 that Hamza had joined the terrorist organisation.  Hamza has called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals, lone offender attacks against the US, France, and Israel, and violence against Americans in the US and abroad.  In addition, the State Department has designated Ibrahim al-Banna, allegedly a senior member of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula who has served as its security chief and threatened to target US citizens.

EU adds 3 people to its counter-terrorism sanctions

eu-flag-1-commissionThe EU has added 3 people to its new autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions regime, which targets people and groups said to be involved in terrorism around the world, including Hamas, Hizballah, and FARC.  These sanctions are a separate regime from the regime targeting ISIL & Al-Qaida, which since 20 September last year has also allowed the EU to impose its own listings, whereas previously it could only implement UN or individual Member State listings (see previous blog). The new listings add Canadian citizen Hassan Hassan El Hajj, Australian citizen Farah Meliad, and Turkish citizen Dalokay Sanli.

See Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/2373 implementing Regulation 2580/2001 and amending Regulation 2016/1127.