US imposes sanctions on head of Chechnya Kadyrov

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was sanctioned by the United States under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (the Magnitsky Act), according to the updated sanctions list published on the website of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Besides Kadyrov, four other Russians were targeted under the Magnitsky Act: Ayub Kataev, Yulia Mayorova, Andrei Pavlov, and Alexei Sheshenya.

The American authorities consider Kadyrov guilty of “killings, torture, and other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sees the Kadyrov Administration responsible for the “disappearances and extrajudicial killings” of people and stated that one or more of Kadyrov’s political opponents “was believed to have been murdered at Kadyrov’s direction” after he spoke out about tortures that had been carried out by Kadyrov’s cronies and by Kadyrov himself.

Ayub Kataev is the warden at the Central Prison in the Chechen City of Argun. In April 2017, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta accused Kataev of torturing gay individuals in a “secret prison.” Kataev denied his involvement in the arrests and torture of gays as well as the very practice of torture in prison. Kadyrov also shrugged off all accusations.

A couple, Yulia Mayorova and Andrei Pavlov, have been also designated under the Magnitsky Act, that was initially drawn up by a lawyer from the Hermitage Capital investment fund, Sergei Magnitsky, who claimed that the persons on his list had been involved in a conspiracy to plunder the Russian state budget. Magnitsky claimed that Mayorova and Pavlov, lawyers, were assisting in the fraud. In 2014, they were designated by the European Union under the Magnitsky Act.

Alexei Sheshenya was also part of the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky, as lawyers of the Hermitage Capital stated in their defense claim with the Investigative Russian Committee in 2011.

Magnitsky was arrested by Russian authorities in 2008 under a tax fraud case against Hermitage Capital, the firm he worked for. Magnitsky died in 2009 in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in Moscow. William Browder, Chief Executive Officer of Hermitage Capital claimed that Magnitsky had been prosecuted because he uncovered a criminal conspiracy that siphoned money from the Russian state budget. The businessman started an international campaign to punish those guilty of the tax fraud and the death of his lawyer.

In 2012, the U.S. Congress adopted the Magnitsky Act that banned the individuals responsible for the death of Magnitsky from the United States and blocked their assets in the States. Later the Magnitsky Act was expanded to enlist new foreign individuals involved in violations of human rights. A total of 49 individuals have been designated under the Magnitsky Act.

Similar acts have been adopted in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Lithuania, and the European Parliament started to keep its own Magnitsky list. Since then, the list has added the Chairperson of the Moscow City Court, Olga Yegorova, former investigator of the Main Investigative Department of the Department of Internal Affairs of Moscow, Pavel Karpov, Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia, Viktor Grin, and others.

Kadyrov has been under the sanctions imposed by the European Union since 2014 for actions threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of the State of Ukraine.

  Kadyrov, Chechnya, Sanctions, Magnitsky Act