October 3, 2023

UK criminalizes membership in Wagner Group

In September 2023, the UK Home Office announced the proscription of the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, adding it to the list of 78 international and 14 Northern Ireland-related organizations that are banned in the United Kingdom.  The Wagner Group, its leaders and supporters, are already subject to financial sanctions in the United Kingdom, as noted here, here, and here.

The process and criteria applied in proscribing entities are set forth in the Terrorism Act 2000.  The factors to be taken into account by the Home Secretary in electing to exercise the discretionary power to proscribe are:  the nature and scale of an organization’s activities; the specific threat posed to the UK and to British nationals overseas; the extent of the organization’s presence in the UK, and; the need to support the international community in the fight against terrorism.

The ambit of proscription is broad.  It covers members of a proscribed organization, persons who invite or recklessly express support for a proscribed organization; individuals who wear clothing indicating support for or membership in a proscribed organization; anyone who arranges a meeting in support of such an organization, and; anyone who publishes an image of an article or logo demonstrating support or membership in a proscribed entity.  Penalties for these offenses may be as long as 14 years in prison.   Of the 92 people charged with proscription-related offenses, 56 have been convicted.

Press release | Fact sheetTerrorism Act