U.S. imposes sanctions on Libyan national Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim for ‘serious human rights abuses’ against migrants

Ibrahim is the de facto manager of a migrant detention center in Zawiyah, Libya, where he or individuals under his direction have carried out horrific abuses against migrants, including killings, sexual violence, and beatings, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement.

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Libyan national Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim for “serious human rights abuses” against migrants in Libya.

Ibrahim is the de facto manager of a migrant detention center in Zawiyah, Libya, where he or individuals under his direction have carried out horrific abuses against migrants, including killings, sexual violence, and beatings, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement.

The United States designated Ibrahim pursuant to Executive Order 13726, based on his involvement in serious human rights abuses against migrants in Libya, Blinken added.

“Today’s action promotes accountability and exposes the mistreatment, exploitation, and violence being perpetrated against vulnerable migrants transiting Libya in pursuit of a better life and follows Ibrahim’s designation yesterday at the United Nations,” he said.  “We will continue to work with the international community and use all the tools at our disposal to support victims and identify those involved in abuses of human rights.  We call on Libya’s Government of National Unity to hold accountable Ibrahim and others perpetrating human rights abuses.”

The United States Treasury Department detailed the sanctions in a news release, saying that American citizens have been prohibited from conducting business with him.

The Department wrote, “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), corresponding with an action by the United Nations Security Council, sanctioned Libyan national Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim (Al Kuni), who is responsible for serious human rights abuse against migrants in Libya. Al Kuni is designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13726 for being involved in, or having been involved in, the targeting of civilians through the commission of acts of violence, abduction, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law.

“In view of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, Treasury is taking this action to promote accountability and expose the illicit activities of those abusing and exploiting migrants transiting Libya in pursuit of a better and more secure life,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea M. Gacki. “We will continue to align with the international community by using sanctions and other tools to support the victims of such inhumane treatment and isolate those involved in such abuse of human rights. Treasury calls on Libya’s Government of National Unity to hold accountable Al Kuni and others perpetuating such abuse.”

Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim (Al Kuni) has been identified as the de facto manager of the al-Nasr Detention Center in Zawiyah, Libya, colloquially named the “Osama prison” because of his involvement. Al Kuni, who has been described as a migrant-smuggling kingpin, is responsible for the systematic exploitation of African migrants at the detention center where these migrants are subject to various human rights abuses. Al Kuni or the individuals under his direction have been involved in or facilitated the killing, exploitation, abuse, and extortion of migrants at the detention center, including through sexual violence, beatings, starvation, and other mistreatment.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individual that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

“Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

“Additionally, Al Kuni was designated by the UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee. Pursuant to that designation, all UN Member States are obligated to impose an asset freeze and travel ban.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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