US Sanctions Chechen Chief Kadyrov for Human Rights Abuses

22 December, 2017, 02:17 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Kremlin considering response to sanctions against Kadyrov

Today the U.S. Treasury Department announced its sanctions against Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the semi-autonomous Russian Republican of Chechnya, for his fondness for kidnapping, torturing and murdering his political opponents and suspected gay men.

In January, Russia's Foreign Ministry said sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act amounted to an unjustified and politically motivated initiative after the United States added five Russian individuals to its Specially Designated Nationals list for alleged violations of the legislation. The sanctions were applied under the bill which targets those who commit human rights abuses in other countries and was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison after exposing corruption.

Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. Administration added five more citizens of Russian Federation, including Ramzan Kadyrov, to the Magnitsky List.

Human rights groups say Kadyrov has used threats and abuses to maintain control over Chechnya, the site of two post-Soviet separatist wars and years of insurgent violence stemming from the conflicts since Putin appointed him to head the region in 2007.

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Kadyrov, who won 98 percent of votes in the September 2016 election, has recently faced global condemnation over reports of an anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday, as head of the Chechen republic, Kadyrov "oversees an administration involved in disappearances and extra-judicial killings".

The new additions bring the total number of those sanctioned by the law to 49.

US citizens and residents also are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the sanctioned individuals. Kadyrov's response to the accusations was that there were no gay men in Chechnya. The report was later corroborated in part by RFE/RL as well as Human Rights Watch, which said the "anti-gay purge" lasted from late February until at least early April and that "it was ordered and conducted by officials in Chechnya". The Kremlin denies the allegation. Under the Magnitsky Act, those on this list are barred from entering the country and any assets they hold in USA banks are frozen.

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