Kremlin Says Sanctions Against Kadyrov 'Illegal,' Vows Response

Kremlin considering response to sanctions against Kadyrov

Russian Federation was considering retaliation on Thursday for the United States imposing sanctions on the Kremlin-backed leader of southern Russia's Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov.

In January, Russia's Foreign Ministry said sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act amounted to an unjustified and politically motivated initiative after the United States added five Russian individuals to its Specially Designated Nationals list for alleged violations of the legislation.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) believe Kadyrov is 'responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights'. The U.S. government accused Kadyrov of torture and "extra-judicial" killings.

Kadyrov, however, has long denied the existence of gay men in the country, telling HBO reporter David Scott back in July that if they were present in Chechnya that he'd "take them far from us so we don't have them at home". Under the Magnitsky Act, those on this list are barred from entering the country and any assets they hold in US banks are frozen. A spokesman for Kadyrov denied the reports and insisted there were no gay people in Chechnya. Shortly after, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning American citizens from adopting Russian children, in a move widely viewed as retaliation.

The other three Russians being targeted are accused of being involved in the criminal conspiracy in Russia that Magnitsky exposed.

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"Today, the USA is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system".

The new sanctions also target Mukhtar Hamid Shah, a Pakistani surgeon specializing in kidney transplants who Pakistani police believe is involved in the trafficking of human organs. After accusing Russian officials of carrying out a $230 million tax fraud, he was charged with tax evasion and put in prison, where he died in 2009 at 37.

It had been unclear whether US President Donald Trump would continue to target people under the law, which now has placed sanctions on 49 Russians.

The sanctions can freeze all assets an individual holds in the United States and also bars Americans from doing any business with them.

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