US Sanctions “AlKaniyat”

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On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) decided to impose sanctions against Mohamed al-Kani and the Kaniyat battalion , which is responsible for the murder of civilians recently discovered in numerous mass graves in Tarhouna, as well as torture, forced disappearances and displacement of civilians.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said that Mohamed al-Kani and the Kaniyat battalion have tortured and killed civilians during a cruel campaign of oppression in Libya, confirming that “the United States stands with the Libyan people and will use the tools and authorities at its disposal to target human rights abusers in Libya and across the world.”

Al-Kani is the leader of the Kaniyat battalion , which over several years gained control over the city of Tarhouna, Libya, while detaining, torturing, and murdering civilians.

In April 2019, the Kaniyat battalion changed allegiances from Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) to fight alongside the Libyan National Army (LNA), providing the LNA a foothold near Tripoli during its offensive against the Libyan capital.

In June 2020, following a de facto truce, GNA-aligned forces re-entered Tarhouna and discovered at least 11 mass graves containing the bodies of civilians previously detained by the Kaniyat militia, including women, children, and elderly.

Some of the deceased appeared to have been tortured, burned, or buried alive. The Kaniyat battalion is also responsible for hundreds of summary executions at Tarhouna prison, numerous forced disappearances, and the displacement of entire families from Tarhouna.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above, and of any entities that are owned directly or indirectly by 50 percent or more by them, individually or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

Al-Kani is designated for being or having been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse related to his tenure.

The Kaniyat battalion is designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuses.