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U.S. Slaps Magnitsky Sanctions on Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov Over Gay Purge

Denis Grishkin / Vedomosti

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, has been added to a U.S. sanctions list targeting human rights abusers following allegations of a gay purge in his North Caucasus republic.

In April, Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on secret prisons in Chechnya where gay men were allegedly detained and tortured.

Kadyrov dismissed media reports that gay men are being persecuted in Chechnya, saying there are no gay men there.

The long-time ruler of Chechnya and protege of Russian President Vladimir Putin was among five new names to be included on the so-called Magnitsky list on Wednesday.

Ayub Katayev, a Chechen Interior Ministry official who, like Kadyrov has denied the allegations people are being persecuted, has also been blacklisted.

The Magnitsky bill targets those suspected of human rights violations and is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer investigating corruption who died under suspicious circumstances in a Russian prison. 

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