USA: Treasury Sanctions Serious Human Rights Abusers on International Human Rights Day.

WASHINGTON– Today, on International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting perpetrators of serious human rights abuse across several countries in the Western Hemisphere, Middle East, and Eurasia. Today’s actions are taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption. OFAC is also concurrently designating one Yemeni individual pursuant to E.O. 13611, “Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen.”

“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 Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich. “The United States also welcomes the growing ability of our partners to join us in targeting human rights abuses. Over the last few months, the United Kingdom and the European Union have each adopted new sanctions authorities, creating a powerful, global framework for targeting human rights abuses.”

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SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN RUSSIA.

Ramzan Kadyrov (Kadyrov), the Head of the Chechen Republic, is being designated today pursuant to the Global Magnitsky E.O. for being a foreign person who is a leader of an organization, the Kadyrovtsy, that has engaged in, or whose members have 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. On December 20, 2017, OFAC designated Kadyrov pursuant to the Russia Magnitsky Act for being responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, or to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections, in the Russian Federation. 

Following Kadyrov’s previous designation, the Kadyrovtsy, under the guidance of Kadyrov, continued these egregious activities, to include kidnapping, torturing, and killing members of the LGBTI population in the Chechen Republic. The Kadyrovtsy are accused of illegal abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and other abuses, including the detention of journalists and activists. 

In addition to Kadyrov, OFAC is designating the following six companies registered in Russia that continue to provide Kadyrov pride and significant profit:

  • Absolute Championship Akhmat for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
  • Akhmat MMA for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
  • FC Akhmat Grozny for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
  • Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation for being owned or controlled by Kadyrov.
  • Megastroyinvest, OOO for being owned or controlled by the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation.
  • Chechen Mineral Waters Ltd. for being owned or controlled by the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation.

OFAC is also designating five individuals who are prominent members in Kadyrov’s network:

  • Vakhit Usmayev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
  • Timur Dugazaev, a representative of Kadyrov in Europe, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
  • Ziyad Sabsabi, a representative of Kadyrov, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
  • Daniil Vasilievich Martynov, a personal security advisor for Kadyrov, has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.
  • Satish Seemar, a horse trainer for Kadyrov, has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, Kadyrov.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the President signed E.O. 13818 on December 20, 2017, in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons. 

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