The US is 'disturbed' by the gay purge in Chechnya - 'if true'

Posted April 20, 2017

Haley, who holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, said that on April 18 she would lead the council's first-ever meeting on human rights "to underscore our commitment to addressing human rights abuses wherever they threaten worldwide peace and security".

A spokesman for Kadyrov denied the purge was taking place to Russian news agencies by arguing that homosexuals don't exist in Chechnya.

"My vehicle got stopped at a Chechen police checkpoint and they asked me for my documents", said the man, who asked to be identified as "Ahmed".

While casual homophobia is common in Russian Federation, the problem is particularly acute in conservative Chechnya, where homosexuality is taboo and seen in many families as a moral failing that should be punished by death.

GLAAD's call to action for Ambassador Haley to speak out followed reports that more than 100 LGBTQ men are being detained in Russian-controlled Chechnya due to their perceived sexual orientation, with three men allegedly being killed. Allegedly, around 100 gay men have been sent to these camps so far and some were murdered by Chechen police. Kadyrov's administration has claimed there can be no camps because there are no gay men in the region.

The accusations were taken all the more seriously since the security forces controlled by Kadyrov - a fierce loyalist of President Vladimir Putin - have always been accused by rights activists of carrying out kidnappings and beatings of his opponents.

"In Chechnya, I had no choice but to lie or die", says the 20-year-old.

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Reports began emerging from Chechnya three weeks ago.

The Russian LGBT Network said Friday that it has received about 50 calls for help from people inside Chechnya or who have recently escaped to avoid persecution. Almost 20 people at risk have already moved to Moscow, she told AFP. "They will kill me themselves", says Ahmed.

The UN called on all men detained in the purge to be released and for Russian authorities to condemn official statements inciting hatred and violence.

"We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation", read a statement from Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations.

Heda Saratova, the head of in Chechnya's Human Rights Council, has dismissed the claims that hundreds of gay men have been detained but now the men who suffered the brutal attacks are speaking out.

Human Rights First offered similar words. Chechnya's prosecutor's office on Monday said it was opening an investigation into the allegations.

Threats against the Novaya Gazeta reporter who first reported the country's anti-gay abuses, Elena Milashina, have driven her to flee her Moscow home.