UK government orders strict sanctions on top officials linked to Chechnya’s horrific ‘gay purge’

Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya

The UK government has ordered strict sanctions to be placed upon three top Chechen officials charged with torturing LGBT+ people in the region’s “gay purge”.

Magomed Daudov, spokesperson of the Chechen parliament, Aiub Kataev, head of the ministry of internal affairs, and Apti Alaudinov, deputy minister and major general of the police, will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes under the UK’s global human rights sanctions.

Sanctions will also fall upon the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit, a military branch of the national guard of Russia, for their role in the abusive regime.

They are among a total of eleven politicians and officials penalised by the UK on 10 December, International Human Rights Day, for “gross human rights violations” in Russia, Venezuela, The Gambia and Pakistan.

“Today’s sanctions send a clear message to human rights violators that the UK will hold them to account,” said foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

“The UK and our allies are shining a light on the severe and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by those sanctioned today. Global Britain will stand up for democracy, human rights and the rule of law as a force for good in the world.”

The penalties were issued in coordination with the US, which also announced similar measures on Thursday. In total the US and the UK designated 31 actors for their involvement in serious human rights abuses.

The tyrannical leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, already came under US sanctions in July.

He and his allies continue to deny that the “gay purge” is happening, despite countless refugee reports from LGBT+ people who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed in gay concentration camps.

While the move will have no judicial impact in Russia, it will stop those involved in the regime from “entering the country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy,” the British foreign office said in a statement.

It is the third time the UK has sanctioned people or entities for human rights violations and abuses under a UK-only regime, with the first in July and the second in September 2020.