United States has imposed sanctions on the leader of Russia’s Chechnya Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, barring him from travelling to the United States over accusations of gross violations of human rights, including torture.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on July 20 that he is concerned that Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is using the novel coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to inflict further human rights abuses on people in the region.

A statement, in particular says that “the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.”

This designation is reportedly due to Kadyrov’s involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic.

According to the statement, the Department of State has extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings.

The action also applies to Mr. Kadyrov’s spouse, Medni Kadyrova, and his daughters Aishat Kadyrova and Karina (aka Khadizhat) Kadyrova.

The statement says the United States will encourage likeminded countries to take similar measures.

The action reportedly serves to notify Mr. Kadyrov that his involvement in gross violations of human rights has consequences, both for him and his family.