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14 Jan, 2019 13:49

LGBT advocacy say dozens of gays arrested in Chechnya, ‘outdated fiction’ authorities say

LGBT advocacy say dozens of gays arrested in Chechnya, ‘outdated fiction’ authorities say

A gay rights advocacy group claims at least 40 people have been arrested in Russia’s Chechen Republic, alleging wave of persecution. Chechen leadership says the claim has no truth behind it.

Since late December 2018, 40 people suspected of being gay have been detained in the Chechen Republic, claims the advocacy group “Russian LGBT network.” There are both men and women among the detained. Two of them were “tortured to death” in a secret prison in the city of Argun, the statement by the group’s Program Director Igor Kochetkov said.

The report was denied by a spokesman for the Chechen government, who said it simply rehashes untruthful accusations that first surfaced in 2017.

“If even a single person were arrested, let alone 40, the entire Chechen public would have known. The claim that two were killed is even more absurd,” said Alvi Kraimov. “[The network] must have forgotten that the so-called prison in Argun was checked many times by the Western media and rights organizations, which found no secrets prisons there or in any other place.”

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The claim that gay people are being persecuted by the authorities of Chechnya first came to prominence in April 2017, after a report in the opposition newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” claimed mass arrests and summary executions of gays were happening in the southern Russian republic. An investigation into the report was launched but found no evidence of the alleged atrocities.

The Russian LGBT network describes itself as a nationwide advocacy of gay rights that monitors abuses and supports victims of homophobia. Among its international partners is Freedom House, the US-funded NGO famous for its annual ranking of countries by their freedom, which it insists are not affected by US foreign policy goals.

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