The United States has said it would bar the entry of Chechnya’s prime minister for allegedly orchestrating human rights violations in the Russian republic.
Under a US law that requires action against foreign officials over human rights concerns, the United States announced that Chairman Muslim Khuchiyev and his immediate family will be ineligible for US visas if they apply.
The State Department said in a statement that it had “credible information that Muslim Khuchiyev was involved in torture.” Chechnya’s pro-Moscow authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov last year elevated Khuchiyev, previously the mayor of the Chechen capital Grozny which was reduced to rubble when Russia crushed two separatist wars that left tens of thousands dead.
While the Muslim-majority republic has largely been pacified, Chechen authorities have still engaged in unlawful arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings, according to a report last year by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The public designation comes amid a slew of rifts between Russia and the United States, which has pressed President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s support for separatists in Ukraine and alleged interference in US elections.