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20 Jul, 2020 17:53

US sanctions Chechen leader Kadyrov, his wife & daughters over ‘gross human rights violations’

US sanctions Chechen leader Kadyrov, his wife & daughters over ‘gross human rights violations’

Washington has added the head of the Russian southern republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, to its sanctions blacklist, accusing him of “numerous” human rights violations. Restrictions were also imposed against his family.

The US State Department has banned Kadyrov from entering US territory, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday. He said his agency has “extensive credible information” that the Chechen leader was supposedly behind “numerous gross violations of human rights” committed over more than a decade, including “extrajudicial killings.”

The statement did not delve further into these accusations but mentioned what it called “horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons” – something the Chechen authorities have repeatedly denied.

Also on rt.com US sanction Chechen special police force in latest Magnitsky Act blacklist for ‘human rights abuses’

“We are concerned that Mr Kadyrov is now using the excuse of the coronavirus pandemic to inflict further human rights abuses on the people of the Chechen Republic,” the statement added.

It prompted a swift response from the Chechen leader, who posted a photo of himself holding what looks like two machine guns while standing in an armory. “Pompeo, we accept the fight! This will get interesting,” he wrote.

US authorities did not limit themselves to imposing sanctions against Kadyrov, and introduced similar restrictions against his wife, Medni, and his two eldest daughters – Aishat and Karina (aka Khadizhat).

“Today’s action serves to notify Mr Kadyrov that his involvement in gross violations of human rights has consequences, both for him and his family,” the State Department warned, adding that Washington would use “all tools” to “ensure accountability” of all those it considers involved in human rights violations.

The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, also reacted to the US move by saying that “it would be difficult to provide a mirror response, but we will come up with something.”

It is not the first time the Chechen leader has been sanctioned by Washington. The US Treasury Department already slapped Kadyrov with financial sanctions back in 2017, accusing him then of human rights violations amid reports about an “anti-gay purge.”

A year later, Kadyrov said that the situation with human rights in Chechnya is better than in the US itself. Replying to a critical remark by then-acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, Kadyrov claimed that Chechnya has an extremely low rate of murder, robbery, rape, abduction and other “street” crime, and prioritizes equality by ethnicity and religion.

Also on rt.com Chechnya better than US on human rights, Kadyrov says

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