Kadyrov says US “fears little Chechnya”

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GROZNY, Russia – May 19, 2019 – The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, commented on the recent sanctions of the US Treasury Department against the Terek Special Rapid Response Forces.

On his Telegram account, the Chechen politician said in an ironic tone that “this news is more relevant than the discovery of life on Mars.” He also asked: “What does Magnitski have to do with Chechnya?”

The Chechen leader affirmed that the Terek Rapid Response Special Forces are one of the best combat units in the fight against terrorism.

In addition, he pointed out that the sanctions are evidence that the United States fears “little Chechnya.”

“Those who seek to make us their enemies, I propose to come [to Chechnya] if they are men, to draw the Magnitski list in such a way that they can never forget it,” he concluded.

The US Treasury Department adopted on May 16 sanctions against a security body in Chechnya, known as Terek Rapid Response Special Forces, and its commander Abuzayd Vismurádov.

They also sanctioned four individuals of Russian nationality in accordance with the Sergei Magnitski Law on Human Rights Responsibility (Magnitski law).

Sigal Mandelker, the U.S. undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement that the sanctions targeted an agency called the Terek Special Rapid Response Team.

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“We are focused on holding accountable those responsible for atrocious acts within Russia, including the extrajudicial killing of Boris Nemtsov and the pervasive abuse of LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex] persons in Chechnya,” Mandelker said in the statement.

Nemtsov, who held several senior positions in the Russian government in the late 1990s and then went on to the opposition, was shot dead in the very center of Moscow, a few meters from the Kremlin, on the night of February 27, 2015.

In the framework of the investigation, apart from the arrest and incarceration of the five involved, an international search and arrest warrant was issued against the alleged mastermind of the murder, Ruslan Mujudínov.

Trikulya and Karlov were punished for their alleged participation in the attempt to hide the legal responsibility for the arrest, abuse or death of Magnitski, the statement said.

In 2012, the US Congress approved the Magnitski Law, which penalizes Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of the Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitski, and human rights violators in Russia.

Magnitski was a jurist who made allegations of alleged corruption at the highest levels of the Russian Government; He was arrested in 2008 and charged with conspiracy and tax evasion and died in 2009 at the Matroskaya Tishina Detention Center in Moscow.

Russia stated on several occasions that it is unacceptable to politicize Magnitski’s case.

Vismurádov, Kossiev, Gereméyev and the Terek Rapid Response Special Forces were included in the Magnitski list for their role in extrajudicial executions, torture and other human rights violations in Russia, according to the Treasury Department.

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