Disturbing details are surfacing about the treatment of gay men in Chechnya. As many as 100 men have been rounded up and imprisoned according to some reports. The men are being subjected to beatings and electrocution and three men were killed. Government officials were asked about these detentions and they gave a chilling response according to The Telegraph:
When originally confronted with the allegations. Alvi Karimov, the spokesman for the Chechen leader, told Interfax that: “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.
If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
President Ramzan Kadyrov labeled the allegations as “absolute lies and disinformation” according to the New York Times. Some news outlets are suggesting that Kadyrov has a history of human rights abuses. FOX News writes:
Chechen’s President Ramzan Kadyrov, who is a key ally of Vladimir Putin, accused of ordering the clampdown, denied the allegations claiming “it’s impossible to persecute those who are not in the republic”.
The Chechen government suggested there are no gay people in their country.
The Kremlin-backed Kadyrov is widely accused of extensive human rights violations. He has brought Islam to the fore of Chechnya’s daily life, including opening what is called Europe’s biggest mosque.
Human rights groups have accused security forces controlled by Kadyrov of resorting to disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial executions, and the collective punishment of suspects’ extended families in their fight with Islamist insurgents.
I’m not sure about the veracity of these allegations, but they are troubling if true.