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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov: "We won't ignore a single comment or video."

Ramzan Kadyrov, the coarse-mouthed leader of Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya, is at it again.

In a video posted on Instagram, Kadyrov threatened anyone who insults him or "his people" in online commentaries with grisly punishments.

"We won't let anyone insult personalities [online]," Kadyrov, wearing his trademark red-and-white tracksuit, said. "Remove your comments. We are reading them all. There is a whole group working on this. We have traditions, and no one has suspended our customs. That's why I don't care if someone kills me. But if you insult my blood, my clan, my family, my people -- for me, that is the most important thing.

We won't ignore a single comment or video.""So watch your tongues," he continued. "Watch your fingers. Because we will break your fingers and rip out your tongues. We won't ignore a single comment or video."

The Chechen strongman's comments come in response to a recent border incident with neighboring Daghestan, in which a new sign demarking Chechen territory was torn down after a virulent online campaign. Chechnya has been harshly criticized in the region in recent months for its seemingly aggressive efforts to resolve border disputes with Ingushetia and Daghestan.

In September, Kadyrov and Ingushetian leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov signed a border agreement following secret negotiations, prompting activists in Ingushetia to claim the pact invalid because it represented an illegal transfer of territory to Chechnya.

Then in February, Chechnya laid claim to a plot of land near the village of Mekhelta in Daghestan, and that land was reportedly transferred to Chechnya in March. Several other plots of land are currently under dispute and some in Daghestan believe Chechnya is taking control of them without waiting for the completion of talks.

Threats of physical violence are a standard part of Kadyrov's diplomatic repertoire. In 2016, international rights groups urged the Kremlin to discipline Kadyrov for his public threats against prominent journalists and opposition political figures.

Kadyrov said they "should be treated as enemies of the people, as traitors."

"The federal Russian authorities must respond to a string of thinly veiled threats against several prominent human rights defenders, media workers, and political activists, which originated from the political leadership of Chechnya," Amnesty International wrote in a statement. "Such threats should not be taken lightly."

"Our research shows that menacing rhetoric against government critics has often been followed by violence," the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote.

Investigative journalist Anna Politikovskaya, who wrote extensively about rights abuses in Chechnya, was shot dead in 2006. Although the murder has never been fully solved, three Chechens were convicted of carrying out the killing.

Human rights activist Natalya Estemirova was abducted in Chechnya in 2009 and her body found a short time later in Ingushetia. Her killing was never solved and Kadyrov claimed she was killed by unknown people trying to frame him.

In 2015, former Deputy Prime Minister and opposition politician Boris Nemtsov -- an energetic critic of both Putin and Kadyrov -- was gunned down in Moscow. Although the case remains open, five Chechens -- including at least one former officer of Kadyrov's security force -- were convicted of carrying out the killing.

Kadrov's security forces have been accused many times of carrying out abductions, torture, and extrajudicial disappearances.

In May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report documenting a campaign of intimidation and torture aimed at gay and bisexual men that included beatings, electric shocks, and rapes with foreign objects. Russian gay-rights activists say the campaign has been going on since January and that at least two men have been killed.

Kazakh police detain a woman during an opposition rally on June 12.

The United Nations Human Rights Office has called on Kazakh authorities "to respect freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression and right to political participation" following the detention of hundreds of protesters during rallies since Kazakhstan's June 9 presidential election.

"Kazakhstan's actions against peaceful protesters, activists, and journalists during and after the presidential elections on June 9 are extremely regrettable," Ryszard Komenda, head of the UN Human Rights Office for Central Asia, said.

"The freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are the building blocks of successful and vibrant societies. Any attempt to restrict them unnecessarily and without proper justification constitute risks for stability and social cohesion," Komenda said.

Demonstrators in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and other cities in Kazakhstan protested against the official results of the presidential election -- which gave the victory to Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, the handpicked successor of former authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Kazakh Prosecutor-General's Office representative Saparbek Nurpeisov told reporters in Nur-Sultan on June 13 that the protesters' rallies were "illegal" because they had not been sanctioned by the authorities.

Nurpeisov said 957 detained people had been "punished" -- including 670 who were sentenced to between six and 15 days in jail, 115 who were fined, and 172 who received official warnings about taking part in "illegal" actions.

Dozens More Detained After Kazakhstan's Presidential Vote Marred By 'Irregularities'
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The UN Human Rights Office expressed concerns "about the significant scale of arrests and convictions for peaceful and legitimate expression of political opinion and dissent."

"This is an apparent contradiction with Kazakhstan's obligations under international human rights law" Komenda said. "I urge Kazakhstan to fulfil its legal obligations to respect and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, expression, and ensure the right to meaningful political participation."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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