Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been banned from entering the United States.
The US Treasury Department have sanctioned the politician under a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act, which allows the country to withhold visas and freeze financial assets for individuals and companies over human rights violations.
“We will continue to use the Magnitsky Act to aggressively target gross violators of human rights in Russia,” said John Smith, the Director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.
Chechnya, a republic in southern Russia, made headlines back in April when it was announced that gay men were being rounded up and tortured in modern-day ‘concentration camps’ by authorities in the region.
Kadyrov publicly declared that he wanted all LGBTQ people in the country to be ‘eliminated’ by Ramadan earlier this year, and later made the bizarre and contradictory claim that there are no gay people in Chechnya.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, has praised the US for taking action against the Chechen leader.
“Sanctioning those responsible for the horrendous anti-LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya, including Ramzan Kadyrov, is a step towards holding human rights abusers accountable for their atrocities,” she said.
“[This] was a needed action to show that human rights must be prioritised above the personal politics of the administration.
“We cannot stop here as we face a growing epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination around the world that must be swiftly and fully addressed.”
The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured.
Despite their denial, the British government condemned the “utterly barbaric” torture of gay men in Chechnya, with Sir Alan Duncan telling the House of Commons that the country’s actions are of the “utmost concern to the UK”.