Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

European Council imposes sanctions on three companies for violation of Libya's arms embargo

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, September 22nd 2020 à 16:55 | Read 846 times

LIBYA / EU. THE European Council decided on Monday 21 September 2020 to "impose targeted restrictive measures against two individuals responsible for human rights abuses in Libya and three entities involved in violations of the UN arms embargo against Libya".

The sanctions consist of a ban on these individuals from entering EU territory and an assets freeze for individuals and entities. They are accompanied by a ban on "EU persons and entities from making funds available to listed persons and entities". A decision binding on all member states.

The Official Journal of the EU publishes the names of the two men concerned. Al-Werfalli Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf (alias Al-Warfalli Mahmud) is commander of the al-Saiqa brigade based in Benghazi. He is believed to be linked to the killings of 33 people between June 2016 and July 2017 and a mass execution (10 people) on January 24, 2018. Diab Moussa is accused of trafficking, kidnapping, rape, and murder (including attempted escape) of migrants and refugees, in which he participated directly, primarily in an illegal detention camp near Bani Walid.

A Turkish ship already involved in an incident with the French Navy

The Çirkin is accused of transporting military equipment to Libya despite the embargo (photo: Twitter)
The Çirkin is accused of transporting military equipment to Libya despite the embargo (photo: Twitter)
The companies subject to sanctions are Sigma Airlines, Avrasya Shipping and Med Wave Shipping.

The Kazakh Kazakh airline company Sigma Airlines (Kenesbayev Umirbek Zharmenovich), specialized in cargo, would not respect, according to the UN, the embargo on the transfer of military equipment to Libya.

The Turkish Avrasya Shipping is a shipping company whose one of the ships it operates, the Çirkin, violated the same embargo, particularly in May and June 2020. This cargo ship had been involved in a naval incident between France and Turkey in June 2020. A French frigate, Le Courbet, on a mission for NATO (of which both countries are members), tried to inspect the Kirkin before being attacked (with flashing fire-control radar lights and crew with bullet-proof vests behind small arms) by three Turkish navy ships escorting it, according to the French Defense Ministry. Turkish authorities dispute this version, accuse the French navy of aggression and demand an apology.
Ankara once again reacted very badly to this announcement of sanctions. "At a time when efforts are being made to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, taking such a wrong decision is extremely regrettable," its foreign minister said in a statement.

Finally, the last company on the list, Med Wave Shipping, based in Jordan is also a shipping company. Its ship the Bana transported military equipment to Libya in January 2020.

These two individuals and three shipping companies join the European Union's list which now includes twenty-one individuals who are banned from EU territory and nineteen individuals or companies whose assets in the EU have been frozen.

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