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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US hits Chechen leader, Yemenis, Haitians with sanctions

The US Treasury bolstered its efforts to punish Kadyrov for human rights violations [TASS]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2020

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The sanctions target six Russian companies and five individuals that are part of the Chechen strongman's network, as well as five security officials from Yemen's Houthis.

The United States expanded sanctions on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and added Haitians, Yemenis and others to its blacklist Thursday to mark International Human Rights Day.

The US Treasury bolstered its efforts to punish Kadyrov for human rights violations after placing him and his family on sanctions lists in December 2017 and July 2020.

In a new designation under the US Global Magnitsky sanctions law, the Treasury said Kadyrov was the leader of the Kadyrovtsy, an organization it said engaged in serious human rights abuses.

"Kadyrov and the forces he commands, commonly known as the Kadyrovtsy, are implicated in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, an opposition politician to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and other serious violations of human rights," it said.

The Treasury extended the sanctions, which freeze assets under US jurisdiction and seek to lock a target out of the global financial and trading system, to six Russian companies and five individuals that are part of Kadyrov's network.

Also placed on the US blacklist were five security officials of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, including Sultan Zabin, director of the Criminal Investigation Department in Sanaa.

"The country's various Houthi-controlled security and intelligence agencies have committed serious human rights abuse, engaging in the prevailing practice of the arbitrary detention and torture of its citizens," the Treasury said.

Read also: Yemen in Focus: Could US terror designation be used to leverage Houthis?

Additionally, three Haitians - one a gang leader and two who were government officials at the time - accused of responsibility for the November 2018 La Saline attack that left 71 people dead were also named for sanctions.

"As we recognize International Human Rights Day, the United States stands with innocent civilians around the globe who have been victims of violence and oppression," said Treasury Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich in a statement.

In a comment via the Telegram instant messaging platform, Kadyrov condemned the US action as "hypocrisy," saying "there has never been anything so absurd in the history of mankind."

"These sanctions have no effect on the Chechen Republic and its development," he added.

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