The U.S. State Department has sanctioned Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, over human rights violations. Kadyrov is responsible for the systematic detention, torture, and murder of gay men that continues in Chechnya.
The State Department’s full statement:
“Today, the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020. This designation is due to Kadyrov’s involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic. The Department has extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings.
“We note that today’s action also applies to Mr. Kadyrov’s spouse, Medni Kadyrova, and his daughters Aishat Kadyrova and Karina (aka Khadizhat) Kadyrova. We will encourage likeminded countries to take similar measures.
“Along with many other likeminded nations, the United States has repeatedly raised concerns about reports of Mr. Kadyrov’s violations publicly and privately. We have already imposed economic sanctions on Mr. Kadyrov and several of his associates, using multiple authorities. In 2018, the United States and fifteen other nations took the extraordinary step of invoking the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism to create a fact-finding mission into horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons, human rights defenders, members of the independent media, and other citizens who ran afoul of Mr. Kadyrov. The Moscow Mechanism rapporteur found that “harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions” had taken place and that “a climate of impunity” surrounded these events. 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.
“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, and that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior.”
Kadyrov’s “gay purge” is documented in the powerful new David France documentary Welcome to Chechnya, now playing on HBO.