The European Union (EU) has imposed sanctions on two Russian officials accused of persecuting LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya.
On Monday, March 22, the EU enforced sanctions on 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.
Vismuradov and Kataev are both already under US sanctions for human rights abuses. However, the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry official denies these charges, with a spokesperson claiming there can be no attacks on LGBTQ+ people because they do not exist in Chechnya.
According to the EU, LGBTQ+ people were also falsely accused of being opponents to the Chechnya region leader and ally of President Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov. In its Official Journal, it stated, “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.”
“The repressions are directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, those presumed to belong to LGBTI groups, and other individuals suspected of being opponents of the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. Aiub Kataev and forces under his command are responsible for serious human rights violations in Russia, in particular torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as arbitrary arrests and detentions and extrajudicial or arbitrary executions and killings,” it continues.
The EU decided to impose restrictive measures on 11 individuals and four organisations in total for causing serious human rights violations and abuses. In a press release, they wrote, “The violations targeted today include the large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China, repression in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTI persons and political opponents in Chechnya in Russia, and torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in South Sudan and Eritrea.”
“The sanctions signal the EU’s strong determination to stand up for human rights and to take tangible action against those responsible for violations and abuses,” the statement further reads.
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