Sanctions were levied against two of Turkey’s top officials by the United States government last week as a result of allegations that the pair were complicit in the arrest and detention of an American pastor.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced last Wednesday that Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu are now classified as individuals complicit in serious human rights abuses due to the arrest and continuing custody of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
Per the Department, Brunson has been the victim of unjust arrest and detention on several occasions by the Turkish government. In 2016, Brunson was arrested on charges of aiding terrorists and engaging in espionage, though the United States government asserts that Turkish officials do not have evidence to support either accusation.
Under the auspices of the Global Magnitsky Act and Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” the Treasury Department is empowered to block the rights to any property individuals engaged in human rights abuses may have, as well as prohibiting American individuals and businesses from engaging in trade with such people.
Owing to Gul’s position as Justice Minister and Solyu’s position of Interior Minister, officials at the Treasury Department have deemed them leaders of an organization engaging in serious human rights abuses, justifying the sanctions levied upon them last week.
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