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01 April 2017, 21:39

Publication on persecution of gays in Chechnya causes local authorities’ overreaction

In Chechnya, various dwelling settlements see mass detentions of men suspected of homosexuality; some of them were killed, the “Novaya Gazeta” has reported today.

"The detainees include figures of the Chechen Muftiate, including well-known and influential religious figures, close to the head of the republic, as well as two well-known Chechen TV professionals," Elena Milashina wrote on April 1 in her article "Murder of Honour" in the “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper. "These people, of course, did not in any way demonstrate their special sexual orientation – in the Caucasus this is tantamount to a death sentence. However, in the traditional Chechen society, the members of which are separated by extremely short social distances, these things are known quickly, no matter how much they are hidden."

According to the newspaper, detentions began after the statements of activists of the “GayRussia” movement about their intention to hold gay parades in several cities of the Caucasus. In the course of mass persecutions of men suspected of non-traditional sexual orientation, over 100 people have been detained; at least three of them were killed, writes Elena Milashina, referring to "an unprecedentedly large number of sources," including the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the FSB, the Prosecutor's Office and the administration of the head of Chechnya.

However, Alvi Karimov, the press secretary of the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has called Milashina's publication "an absolute lie and disinformation" and "an attempt to blacken the ChechenRepublic." "You cannot detain and oppress those, who are simply non-existent in the republic," the “Interfax” quotes Mr Karimov as saying. "Should such people were in Chechnya, law enforcement bodies would have no problems with them, because their relatives themselves would have sent them to places, whence nobody returns."

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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