OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada imposed sanctions Friday (Nov 3) against 52 people in three countries for human rights abuses and corruption under a new law enacted in memory of late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The sanctions targets three government and military officials in South Sudan accused of profiting from corruption or believed to be behind attacks on local human rights defenders.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and members of his regime also face fresh sanctions for rights violations and corruption, as did 30 Russians linked to a US$230-million (S$314 million) tax fraud uncovered by Magnitsky in 2008.
The move, said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, "sends a clear message that Canada will take action against individuals who have profited from acts of significant corruption or who have been involved in gross violations of human rights."
The Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, also referred to as the "Magnitsky Act," was passed on Oct 18.
It bans listed individuals from Canada and prohibits Canadians from dealing with them.
The consequences of being listed also includes the effective freezing of their assets in this country.
William Browder, a former Moscow financier turned anti-Kremlin campaigner, had pressed Canada to enact the legislation.
Browder was the founder of the hedge fund where Magnitsky worked when he went public with details of massive fraud by state officials.
Shortly afterward Magnitsky himself was charged with tax evasion, and spent 11 months in squalid Russian prisons before his death in 2009, which has been highlighted by activists as one of the most flagrant rights violations in Russia.
Magnitsky's widow Natalia and son Nikita joined Browder in Ottawa on Wednesday to celebrate the passage of the law.