US sanctions Libya state broadcaster
Washington: The US named Libya's state broadcaster under its sanctions regime against Tripoli on Thursday, ratcheting up pressure on the embattled government of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The Treasury Department listed the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation under its existing sanctions regime against the Libyan government, blocking any of its property and assets in the United States and banning Americans from doing business with them.
Also listed in the Treasury announcement were two government-controlled investment firms, one in London and another in Algeria.
"The United Nations and countries around the world are locking down the government of Libya's assets to prevent the Gaddafi regime from sponsoring further bloodshed," said Treasury official Adam Szubin in a statement.
"Today's identifications name additional agencies of the Gaddafi regime; all of their assets should be frozen," he said.
Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting broadcasts news on several channels inside Libya and via satellite across the Middle East, and operates news websites in Arabic, English and French.
The companies were listed under the US government's Executive Order 13566, which lays down sanctions against all property and interests of the Libyan government and its agencies, whether or not specifically identified by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the department said.
It was not clear why the broadcaster was specifically named to the list on Thursday.
Since mid-February, after the beginning of the popular uprising against the Libyan government, Washington has set sanctions against Gaddafi’s family, top lieutenants and senior government officials.
It has also frozen more than USD 34 billion in Libyan assets, and has tried to use the unblocking of funds and delisting from sanctions as a carrot for some aides to defect from Gaddafi regime.