24 Feb 2020
Britain is preparing to reimpose sanctions on Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe’s widow at the end of the year after the Government disagreed with an EU decision to ease restrictions on her finances.
The Government suspended an order freezing assets of Grace Mugabe, 54, following an EU decision earlier this week. It comes months after the death of former Zimbabwean president Mr Mugabe at the age of 95.
The UK exited the EU at the end of January but is required to follow the bloc’s sanctions decisions until the transition period expires at the end of the year.
But a rift has opened up between the UK and the EU over the decision, The Telegraph has learned.
The row indicates Britain’s approach to targeting individuals involved in human rights abuses and corruption around the globe could diverge from the EU’s once it becomes free to set its policy on sanctions independently.
The threat to reinstate restrictions on Ms Mugabe’s financial dealings is the clearest indication yet that the UK could change its approach to dealing with human rights abuses by overseas individuals when the Brexit transition period ends on Dec 31.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We did not agree with the EU’s decision to suspend these sanctions on Grace Mugabe. At the end of the transition period we will review it.”
Mr Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years before he was ousted in a military coup in 2017. He died in September.
His government violently suppressed political opponents and led Zimbabwe’s economy to ruin.
Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” by the press for her lavish lifestyle, Ms Mugabe married the authoritarian leader in 1996, becoming his second wife.
By Michael O’Dwyer, The Telegraph, 22 February 2020
Read more at The Telegraph
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