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US finally places sanctions on Chechnya’s gay purge tyrant for ‘gross violations of human rights, including torture and killings’

Nick Duffy July 21, 2020
Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the Chechen Republic, where allegations of anti-gay purges have been rife since 2017. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

The US has placed sanctions on the tyrannical leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is accused of orchestrating a so-called ‘gay purge’.

The leader of the autonomous Russian region, a key ally of Vladimir Putin, has largely ducked all accountability despite years of alarm from human rights groups over violence and ‘disappearances’ targeted at Chechnya’s LGBT+ community.

People who have fled Chechnya have spoken out about the systemic rounding up and brutalising of men identified as gay by officials under the direction of Kadyrov — first reported in February 2017.

On Monday, the US levelled personal sanctions against the Chechen leader, his wife and his daughter — banning them from travel to the US, and permitting the targeting of their personal assets.

Mike Pompeo condemns ‘horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons’.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: “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.”

Chechnya's tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov
Chechnya’s tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov (Yelena AfoninaTASS via Getty Images)

He added: “Along with many other likeminded nations, the United States has repeatedly raised concerns about reports of Mr Kadyrov’s violations publicly and privately.

“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.”

Pompeo concluded: “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 behaviour.”

Ramzan Kadyrov has called for Chechnya to be purified’ of gay people.

Kadyrov has previously called for all gay people to be purged to “purify” Chechnya.

“This is nonsense,” he previously said when asked about the allegations of a gay purge. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.

“Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them. They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people.”

More: Chechnya, Gay, Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia

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