EU orders strict sanctions against Russian officials at the centre of Chechnya’s horrifying ‘gay purge’

Head of the Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov attends the plenary session at the United Russia Party's 18th convention in Moscow on December 8, 2018

The European Union has imposed strict sanctions on two Russian officials accused of persecuting LGBT+ people in Chechnya’s horrifying gay purge.

As of Monday (22 March), the EU sanctioned Aiub Vakhaevich Kataev, a senior official at the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry in Chechnya, and Abuzaid Dzhandarovich Vismuradov, deputy prime minister of the region and commander of a special security unit.

Their penalty includes having their assets frozen and being subjected to a travel ban within the EU, as well as prohibiting people or organisations from making funds available to them.

“The repressions are directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, those presumed to belong to LGBTI groups,” the EU said in its Official Journal, where it published the asset freezes and travel bans.

“In his capacity as head of department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in Argun, Aiub Kataev oversees the activities of local state security and police agencies. In this position, he personally oversees widespread and systematic persecutions in Chechnya, which began in 2017.”

Both men are already under US sanctions for human rights abuses, as is the tyrannical Chechen leader and Putin ally, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Russian Internal Affairs Ministry refutes all charges as Kadyrov and his allies officially deny that there are any LGBT+ people in the region, let alone a gay purge.

However, their denials are countered by dozens of harrowing refugee reports from LGBT+ people who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed in gay concentration camps.

While the EU’s move to sanction the perpetrators will have no judicial impact in Russia, it will stop those involved in the regime from entering EU countries and channelling money through its banks.

In December the UK introduced similar sanctions against 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.

It also enforced sanctions on the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit, a military branch of the national guard of Russia, for their role in the abusive regime.