U.S. Slaps Travel Ban On Chechen Prime Minister

The United States has imposed an entry ban on Muslim Khuchiyev, the prime minister of Russia's North Caucasus Chechen Republic.

The notice was posted on the website of the State Department on April 25, saying that the designation was applied under a law that stipulates sanctions when there is "credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights."

"The department has credible information that [Khuchiyev] was involved in torture," the statement said.

Khuchiyev's wife, Sapiyat Shabazova, was also sanctioned.

Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is himself under U.S. sanctions under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, told Russia's Interfax news agency that the decision to sanction Khuchiyev was "humorous" and will not affect his prime minister.

"He lived without any visits to the United States and will keep on living without them," Kadyrov said.

The State Department said the Moscow Mechanism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently concluded that the Chechen government has "committed serious and ongoing human rights violations and abuses with impunity."

It called on the Russian government to hold officials to account, including Khuchiyev.