On International Human Rights Day, the United States reiterates its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights globally. Combatting and deterring human rights violations and abuses is an important part of this work, as is promoting accountability for the perpetrators.
Today, the Department is publicly designating two individuals under Section 7031© of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2019, as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act 2020, due to their involvement in gross violations of human rights. Section 7031© provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in a gross violation of human rights or significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. The Department has credible information that the following persons have been involved in such gross violations of human rights:
- The Department has designated Mohammed al Otaibi, former Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a heinous, unacceptable crime. Our action today is another important step in responding to Khashoggi’s killing. Al Otaibi was previously designated on November 15, 2018 under Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The State Department continues to urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to conduct a full, fair, and transparent trial of those responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and to hold accountable all those involved in his death. We will continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing.
- The Department has designated Aslan Iraskhanov, Head of the Ministry of Interior Affairs for the city of Grozny in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights. In his prior position as the head of the A.A. Kadyrov police unit, Iraskhanov was credibly alleged to be responsible for the summary execution of 27 men. We note with concern the continued abuses and gross violations of human rights in Chechnya, which include widespread patterns of extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention by government authorities. The Russian government fails to take adequate steps to prosecute or punish officials involved in these abuses and violations, fostering a climate of impunity.
These designations underscore our support for international human rights, and promoting accountability for gross violators of human rights.