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17 January 2019, 10:50

New persecutions of gays in Chechnya evidence the impotence of international institutions

International organizations have no efficient instruments to influence Russia in connection with human rights violations in Chechnya, the rights defenders interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" believe.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that according to the "Russian LGBT Network", starting from late December 2018, about 40 people were detained in Chechnya for their alleged or real sexual orientation, and two persons were killed. Two young men died as a result of "monstrous torture," the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was informed by Igor Kochetkov, the head of the "Russian LGBT Network".

In 2016-2017, raids on gays in Chechnya were wavy – the first one lasted from December 2016 to February 2017; and in total three such waves of detentions are known, says the report prepared by the Russian LGBT Network and Elena Milashina, a special correspondent of the "Novaya Gazeta". The report is based on testimonies of the Chechen residents who had been detained and tortured.

Some of the young people detained during the new wave of raids on gays managed to get released after paying the ransom. Practically all the detainees inform law enforcers, under torture, about their acquaintances, a member of the local LGBT community told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, his friend stayed in custody for about a week. "He was tortured with electric current, and he was stabbed several times. He gave them some names, and when he was released, he warned all of them. According to his story, those, who were returned to their relatives in exchange of ransoms, should be taken away from the republic or killed by their relatives. One of the detainees was returned home shaven and in women's clothes," the source has added.

A resident of Chechnya named Ali has confirmed that persecutions of homosexuals in the republic are widespread; and everyone who wanted to leave the republic was suspected of having links with the LGBT community. "Now, anyone who has disappeared or left home is suspected that his disappearance is connected with his sexual orientation," he told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Russian authorities fundamentally deny any human rights violations in Chechnya – all the checks of such information at the republic's level give no results, although European diplomats and international organizations speak about the persecution of gays in Chechnya as of a proven fact, Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer of the NGO "Legal Initiative", told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"As a lawyer, I see only [one] opportunity – to transfer all these materials to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). International bodies, for example, the ECtHR, can establish a violation, oblige to conduct an investigation and keep ask Russian authorities until it is finished. However, no one can force [Russia] to investigate [crimes and fulfil its international obligations]," Ms Gnezdilova has concluded.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 17, 2019 at 02:09 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: CK correspondents

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