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U.S. sanctions Chechen leader over human rights abuses

The U.S. Department of State announced Monday new sanctions against Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, his wife, and two daughters, over human rights abuses. File Photo by Alexey Nikolsky/EPA-EFE/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool
The U.S. Department of State announced Monday new sanctions against Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, his wife, and two daughters, over human rights abuses. File Photo by Alexey Nikolsky/EPA-EFE/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool

July 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of State said Monday it would sanction Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, his wife and two daughters, because of his human rights abuses.

The sanctions imposed against Russian National Kadyrov on Monday were additional sanctions since economic sanctions have already been imposed on him and several of his associates, the Department of State said in a statement Monday.

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The latest designation is based on "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," according to the statement.

It expands the sanctions against him to his wife, Medni Kadyrova, and his daughters Aishat Kadyrova and Karina Kadyrova, including visa bans.

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The sanctions come after the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Moscow Mechanism looked into reports of abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, defenders of human rights, independent media and other citizens who conflicted with him.

"Harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions," had occurred within "a climate of impunity," the Moscow Mechanism found.

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"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 tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the statement.

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Pompeo added that he was concerned that Kadyrov would use the climate of the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to commit more human rights abuses.

Kadyrov responded to Monday's announcement of added sanctions on his Telegram channel.

"Pompeo, we accept the fight! This is going to be interesting!" Kadyrov wrote under a picture of him holding two machine guns in an arms depot.

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Kadyrov also questioned what crimes his wife and children committed for them to be included in the sanctions.

"You decided to go for frankly vile methods and bring discord within my family," he said. "Maybe you thought you could succeed, but you miscalculated. The Chechen Family Institute is stronger than your sanctions! And even if Medni Musaevna or my daughters had any interests in the USA or Europe, they would abandon them. Not for the sake of your dirty political games, not at my request, but for the sake of the state, people and family."

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"By the way, in addition to my eldest two daughters, I have 12 more children!," Kadyrov added later in the post. "Feel free to include them in the sanctions list!"

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