WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a Chechen group and five individuals, including at least three Russians, for alleged human rights abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act, including extrajudicial killings and the torture of LGBTI individuals.
The sanctions against the Terek Special Rapid Response Team in the Chechen Republic and the five individuals were announced by the U.S. Treasury on its website.
The Treasury Department imposed the sanctions, which freeze the banks accounts of those targeted, under a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act.
The Magnitsky Act imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian auditor and whistleblower. The act also seeks to hold responsible those U.S. authorities allege orchestrated or benefited from the death of Magnitsky.
Those targeted on Thursday included Elena Anatolievna Trikulya and Gennady Vyacheslavovich Karlov, members of an investigative committee who allegedly “participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability for the detention, abuse, or death” of Magnitsky.
Also designated was Abuzayed Vismuradov, commander of the Terek Special Rapid Response Team in Chechnya who was accused of “being responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” against those seeking to expose illegal activity by Russian government officials.
The Treasury Department said Vismuradov was in charge of an operation that “illegally detained and tortured individuals on the basis of their actual or perceived LGBTI status.”
LGBTI is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex.
The Treasury also named Sergey Leonidovich Kossiev as being “responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” as head of a penal colony in the Republic of Karelia.
The fifth individual targeted was named as Ruslan Geremeyev for acting on behalf of the head of Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, “in a matter relating to extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
Reporting by Tim Ahmann and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Tom Brown