Kadyrov ‘eliminating’ Chechnya’s gays by May 26
The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov (pictured with Vladimir Putin), plans to “eliminate” the country’s gay community by the start of Ramadan next month, a British foreign minister has claimed.
It is reported that more than 100 men have been held in secret prisons by the authorities on suspicion of being homosexual in recent weeks, with many beaten and tortured. At least four men are reported to have been killed.
On April 1, Novaya Gazeta, known for exposing explosive issues, reported that Chechnya’s security services were detaining and executing gay men, holding them in squalid conditions and outing them to their families for suggested “honour killing”. The main “concentration camp” was near the town of Argun. Since then, more witnesses have said they were tortured, harassed and threatened. Human Rights Watch quoted one victim saying “they treated us like animals”.
On April 3, Chechnya’s Muslim and political leadership met in the capital Grozny to accuse the newspaper of defamation and called its journalists “enemies of our faith and our motherland”.
UK minister of state for the Foreign Office Sir Alan Duncan told Parliament he had been informed of alleged plans to “eliminate” the republic’s gay community by Ramadan, which starts on May 26.
“Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov,” he said.
“He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community. Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.”
The minister called the reports from the largely Muslim republic “utterly barbaric”.
Violence was often aimed at extracting the names of other gay suspects.
One suspect reported: “They tied wires to my hands and put metal clippers on my ears to electrocute me. They’ve got special equipment, which is very powerful. When they shock you, you jump high above the ground.”
Duncan said the government was using all engagement with Russia “to make our voice clear”. He said he had raised his concerns with Russian deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov while discussing general human rights matters.
Kadyrov’s henchmen are suspected of carrying out the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015, but Russian law enforcement has failed to bring to justice whoever ordered the killing.
Picture credit: Kremlin