On Tuesday, July 19, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order that gives Washington the right to impose unilateral coercive measures against states that “unjustly” detain US citizens, reported Reuters, in clear violation of international rules.
“The sanctions authority included in this EO enables the United States to impose financial and travel sanctions on those who are responsible for unjustly holding US nationals, whether their captor is a terrorist network or a state actor,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Although the US authorities do not provide official figures for the number of its citizens being held abroad in conditions that are unilaterally qualified as “unjust,” the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, an NGO named after a US journalist killed in Syria, claims that more than 60 US citizens are being held “wrongfully” in about 18 countries, including some considered as hostile by the White House, such as Russia, China, Iran, and Venezuela.
RELATED CONTENT: US Southern Command Worried About China, Russia, and RT in Latin America
A senior US administration official told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday that Biden is “committed to getting all these cases resolved and… at the same time, start to bring up a deterrence strategy that can raise the cost of hostage-taking and wrongful detention.”
At that time, the official did not clarify which situations qualify as “hostage-taking” or “unjust detention.” In contrast, Tuesday’s decree has made it sufficiently clear that countries that are considered “adversaries” by Washington will be singled out and punished with extraterritorial legislation.
Quoting “US officials,” Reuters reported that “the order directs government agencies to work more closely with detainees’ families and share information and possibly intelligence.”
RELATED CONTENT: Diosdado Cabello: Washington Sends Mercenaries to Attack Venezuela’s Pipelines
Moreover, US State Department travel advisories will have additional “warnings where there is elevated risk of wrongful detention.” On Tuesday, six countries—Myanmar, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela—were placed on this “blacklist.”
Although the new decree from the White House is clearly intended as a sanction measure, the relatives of people who, from the US point of view, have been unjustly detained in other countries, complained that not enough attention had been paid to their situation, since the decree “seems to be more concerned with deterring future cases than with resolving current ones,” according to a participant in a video call in which the Biden administration presented the legislation to the family members of “wrongfully detained” US citizens.
The Foley foundation claims that countries wrongfully holding US citizens include Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)
- Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)